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Photographer & Creative News
Fla. High-Tech Center Infuses Creativity
Herald Staff Writer via Knight Ridder

One glance at Jon Novosielski's office and you can see why he calls his Digital Technology Centre a training facility for creative professionals.

The place looks like a high-tech learning studio.

Several times a month, the studio serves as a classroom for students to learn from experts in the fields of graphic design, photography and printing.

For each session, Novosielski invites software professionals to teach one-day or several day courses in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Corel Painter. The classes usually consist of designers and photographers, both professional and amateur, from around Florida. Corporations sometimes send designers to brush up on training.

"I like to bring in manufacturers representatives to clue people in on the latest technology," Novosielski said. "We're not going after the guy who wants to know Microsoft Office. We're not teaching beginners."

The cost per course depends on the speaker and the duration of the session. Typically, classes cost between $49 and $300 a day. The facility may also be rented for company events, club meetings and private training sessions.

An estimated 1,000 students attended courses at the Digital Technology Centre last year.

Keith Baumbaugh is a Sarasota freelance photographer and works in a digital imaging center restoring old photographs. Baumbaugh has attended four learning sessions at the studio to learn more about his craft and to network with others in the field.

"Part of it is getting yourself to think outside the box," Baumbaugh said. He has learned not only new photography techniques, but also different business philosophies to increase sales.

"Students that attend the classes are coming from around the state, so it's another resource," Baumbaugh said. "If you have a question, you can get someone else's idea or, if you get in a jam, you can call for help or refer a job to someone you've met."

For the past three years, Novosielski has worked with Wacom Technology, promoting the company's digital pen and tablet products at trade shows around the country.

Novosielski noticed the shows were getting bigger as the number of technophiles grew. He figured a technology center could easily support itself in this area.

"I wanted a permanent work station," Novosielski said. "I wanted a facility to increase peoples's skill sets."

He canvassed Sarasota looking for the perfect workspace and settled on a 2,500-square-foot studio-loft off Fruitville Road.

"I saw this facility and thought, it's perfect," Novosielski said. "It's got the flavor of a photography studio."

Over the years, Novosielski built up a list of contacts and e-mail addresses that he would later use to spread the word about the Digital Technology Centre. The list has grown to 9,000 and Novosielski sends alerts to each address, informing people of upcoming seminars and events at the studio.

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