Kids like art, not just art classes. Allowing children and youth the opportunity to express themselves creatively, in a free environment with some guidance from a working artist provides a rewarding experience.
Artistic and creative expression is therapeutic, both personally and socially. By creating an opportunity to not only express themselves in a safe, non-judgemental environment, people can network professionally and socially, share information and learn new things, and “feel better about themselves”, while “making new friends”.
Pop-up ventures are feasible in this community, not only for cultural/social activities, but for business activities. The intention of this experiment was not to open a “business” that is “closed already”. This was a space that was provided at a suitable location for a cost-efficient rate for a limited time. Transactions that supported local artists and artisans financially during the four weeks also led to future economic opportunities for these artists, and for many others through their efforts.
Welland contains the potential for creative cluster, as it is fostered in an aesthetically inspiring environment. With so much inspiration drawn from the surroundings by artists and photographers alike, and the willingness of creative class members locally to utilize resources available, this community can support a potential arts/music scene socially and physically. This is a marketable resource for this community.
Small community-driven ventures/initiatives without public funding are entirely possible. By attempting this temporary “grassroots” initiative through private sponsorship, donations, and volunteered resources (including human resources), it rapidly gained momentum, and a good idea didn’t die in a board room/committee meeting after “stressing out” to obtain funding from municipal/regional governments and becoming a “waste of taxpayers money”. By building from the ground up, rather than the top down, the ceiling becomes unlimited.
Civic pride exists here. During four weeks of operation, visitors to THW were received not only from our own city, but from outlying communities within the Niagara Region and beyond. Many ex-pat Wellanders expressed that Welland “needs something like this”. Many non-Wellanders remarked positively on the surrounding environment during their visit. Many locals who visited also expressed not only their gratitude but their positive reflections of this community. “It’s all Welland good.”
An independent local artistic/cultural initiative, funded by private sponsorship and enabled by the volunteering of resources, offering a social venue for the enjoyment of the community for a short-term limited amount of time, is entirely feasible in the community of Welland.