Exploring the synergy between Art & Business.
Crystal Mansir, Cass Tirrell and Benjamin Wallace, all recognized around Bath as baristas at Café Crème, are showing off their artistic prowess in a March show hosted at Markings Gallery, 50 Front Street, Bath Maine. Visit anytime during regular gallery hours (Thursday-Monday) and get on over March 20th from 5pm-7pm for their artist reception event.
Art anchors a community. From parklets to Bright Night, art makes a difference and Bath Maine has quietly and deliberately been making all the right moves. My experience working in Kendall Square (Cambridge, Massachusetts) exposed me to the power of a live/work/play cluster. Density is a huge factor for exponential success but it doesn’t take place only in large cities. Entrepreneurship flourishes best when like-minded people share space. I’ve frequently written about the interdependent roles of Business, Art and Technology. They are the job creation engine driving successful, livable communities.
Union + Co aims to enhance the art related synergistic opportunities that currently exist among their neighbors. Talking to Sean Ireland and his team at Union + Co, I get excited by their clear statement of purpose; “to bring individuals together in a shared and inspiring space to think, create, make, discuss, debate, collaborate, and get things done.” They are, of course, talking about their co-working space but that vision extends beyond the 7000 sq. feet inside that space.
They quote from Jane Jacobs, a writer (The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961) and activist for new community based approaches to urban planning. They’ve created a variety of monthly lunch and learns and offered non-profit organizations scheduled free use of their conference room along with the occasional free co-working week opportunity for the public to check them out. The next one is scheduled March 16th-20th 2020.
Today more than ever, Jane Jacobs thoughts ring true:
“You can’t rely on bringing people downtown, you have to put them there.”
And to put them there requires a whole different way of thinking, working and communicating. People remember stories. We desire community and build our world around trust. The internet and social media platforms are just tools. In the right hands you extend reach but we have also seen the problems from a play on our emotions that can falsely manipulate us.
Sitting down in person with someone over coffee or tea is one of the best ways to build a relationship. Stronger connections between people are fundamental to a thriving community and economy. From my conversation with Sean, I learned that 25 co-working, private office and art studio members now work in the same space that once supported only six. And there is room for more! Watch for a soon to be launched Artist in Residence program in their shared studio space. Union + Co sees their role in Bath as a catalyst for maintaining the best of Bath’s history while moving “intentionally and thoughtfully forward towards the future.” It’s with that “right combination of unique and relevant” that they and I believe will make all the difference in the world. Unique and relevant is also why this column appears in the Cryer. We all need communication vehicles that share the great things happening in our communities. Some are digital. Some are print. All need to build relationships and trust in the partnership between readers and those who desire to earn the right to reach them.