We’re all makers. We’re all creators too.

Earlier this month we celebrated this at Maker Expo. Students at the University of Waterloo — all students, not just CS and engineering — have access to Velocity Start. Velocity Start is a 6,000-square-foot workshop with 3D printers, tools and resources for any student to use. The Underground Studio at THEMUSEUM is opening later this fall with a space for children to tinker, hack, build, design, imagine and create.

These events and spaces are part of our constantly evolving understanding of digital literacy. Elementary schools to colleges and universities have created more programs focused on STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We’ve even managed to remember the arts: STEM has become STEAM.

The idea of a space for creatives has been on the mind of Kitchener Public Library’s (KPL) Mary Chevreau. Chevreau became CEO of the library last year and reached out to local guitar shop owner Bob Egan for advice on what to build.

Egan just happens to also be a former member of Blue Rodeo and a local philanthropist. He is the man behind 100 Guitars for 100 Kids. The campaign takes donations of used guitars, repairs them and donates them to children around our community.

“It’s not just giving a kid a chance to make music, it’s giving them something they own,” said Egan.

A conversation on what type of space artists would need turned into an opportunity. The chance to build the space convinced Egan to trade the road for the stacks as KPL’s Manager of Community Connections and Development.

Egan’s main project is the creation of a maker space for artists working in all digital media. This planned space, Studio Central, is where anyone can bring their stories to life. The space will include audio- and video-recording studios, a green screen, broadcast and podcast booth, VR equipment, and digital literary programming.

There are three main areas of focus for Studio Central’s programming. Studio Central will be a place where anyone in our community can learn about, and use, technology to create. “Today, if you don’t know how to work with technology, you don’t have a chance to succeed,” said Egan. Closing the digital divide, the gulf between those who have ready access to the internet and the technology, will help children succeed throughout their lives.

Small businesses will also be able to use the space to create videos for their products and services.

The third area of focus is for artists. Egan and the KPL team envision community art projects where songwriters, musicians, and videographers team up to create music videos.

Making Studio Central a reality will require more than just corporate partners. It needs your time, input and guidance. Studio Central’s first event will be Party In The Stacks on Tuesday, Oct. 25. Party In The Stacks is your opportunity to learn more about Studio Central from Egan and the KPL staff.

It wouldn’t be a celebration of arts without music and dance. Run Coyote, New Vibes Jazz Quartet and Star Performance Dance Academy will perform. Descendants Beer and Beverage Company, Burning Kiln Winery, Gilt, B@THEMUSEUM, RhapsodyGrand Trunk Saloon and TWH Social will be on hand with refreshments. Tickets are $50. Group discounts are available.

 

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While you’re breaking out the hoodies for fall, I see and hear that. . .Nerd Nite KW’s fifth year kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Join fellow nerds from around our community for an evening of talks, trivia and terrible prizes. Doors at McCabe’s Cork Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. . .The Grand Philharmonic Choir is holding an open public rehearsal of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. Join the choir at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (54 Queen St. N.) Saturday, Oct. 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. . .The fifth annual Art, Design, & Architecture film series, sponsored in part by Communitech, starts on Monday, Oct. 3. The first film is “Design Disrupters“. Design Disrupters is a documentary that dives into how 15 companies around the globe use design to change the way products are built — and how we use them. The event is at Princess Cinemas (in the Original Princess theatre, 6 Princess St., Waterloo) beginning at 7 p.m.

About The Author

Alex Kinsella
Digital Community Manager

Alex Kinsella is Communitech's Digital Community Manager. Part of the tech scene in Waterloo Region since 2004, Alex has worked at GBG, BlackBerry, and Thalmic Labs.