“Everybody is an artist in the workshop of ideas and innovation.”
When I moved to Oshawa in 2010, I wanted to be involved in some way with a great group of burning souls who wanted to form a cooperative not for profit -to deliver knowledge, tools and resources to jump start careers for artists, social entrepreneurs, and various initiatives to build community wealth as a means to renew Downtown Oshawa. I knew the arts and culture was in trouble, because residents feel arts and culture is marginalized, certain community groups get preferred treatment and funding is limited. Something needed to be done for the removal of systemic barriers and accommodation of differences whereby individuals and groups can benefit equally. At a Special Oshawa City Council Meeting (2012), the arts community shared their concern over the direction of arts and culture as a industry in Oshawa This prompted Oshawa City Council to create the Culture Counts Plan. Not to long after, I registered Emporium of I and I as a retail business, got involved with The Vault and later The Open Vault.
Emporium of I & I is how how I see community can help make life easier and follow your dreams. The way I explain EOII periodically changes as more friends get involve – till the vision rings a clear note. Not everybody gonna be satisfied, but if they got a better idea for rewed Downtown Oshawa – that’s awesome and they should do it.
“This is Mission Impossible, but I’m jumping into it.”
Emporium of I & I (EOII) is the brainchild of Adam Ryan White. The idea is to form a cooperative not for profit, made up by Oshawa artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, community enthusiast, creating a broad range of arts and culture events, campaigns, initiatives, crowd-funding, job fairs, conferences, and workshops giving artists tools and resources to develop a career in their chosen creative field. The story line is a New Bohemia and Combine Generation. Its a great group coming together for the mutual joy and appreciation of arts and culture, and promoting creative people, ideas and imagination. EOII would be govern as a decentralized meritocracy. We would be “artists rising together.”
It may sound like magical thinking, but this is Adam’s radical action for a new kind of social business endeavor in Oshawa. A cooperative not for profit model can address a lot of the bottle neck social-economic problems facing artists, entrepreneurs and community to develop infrastructure for vibrant spaces and creative economy in the arts and culture sectors that can renew Downtown Oshawa.
EOII is in its incubating stages. Mistakes will be made, lessons learn, and fun will be had. There are Vision Documents explaining the purpose and objectives of EOII. To be brutally honest, the direction is still whimsy and needs more vision input from Oshawa artists, entrepreneurs and community leaders for the best path to renewing downtown Oshawa.
There a lot of great elements right now incubating a renewed downtown Oshawa. The Living Room Community Art Studio, Broken Arts, The Simcoe Mall, Cork & Bean, Cocoa & Joe Cafe, Brew Wizards, The Moustache Club, Core 21, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa Arts Association, Dancyn Productions, Their Opportunity, Brain Injuries Association of Durham, Durham Deaf Services, Back Door Mission, the City of Oshawa has a Culture Counts Plan, and many great people contributing to making an amazing creative & green city. EOII is a complimentary social business to assist in the evolving and expanding of the arts and culture influence for a creative economy..
The aim of EOII is being a great group, we would work within an integrate network of artists, communities, entrepreneurs and government – creating a broad range of arts and culture events, business and networking workshops, job fairs, and a website portal of knowledge, resources and experiences showing a movement towards a renewed downtown Oshawa. Our long-term goal is to expand and evolve the creative economy and community wealth throughout Oshawa and Durham Region.