Community of Making looking to grow
By Vanessa Balintec
Members of Haliburton’s Community of Making are brainstorming ideas on how to expand their network of partnerships that give people access to technology throughout the county.
On July 23, members representing the Haliburton museum, Haliburton Highlands Secondary School, community radio station, Haliburton County Development Corporation, municipal government, arts sector, residents, the Haliburton Forest, and the library gathered at Canoe FM to discuss the program’s next steps.
“The library and college have taken the lead on this,” said Jim Blake, arts council consultant for the HCDC. “At this point, it’s time for us to look broader at the whole Community of Making so it’s not just seen as, oh the library is doing this, it’s that we’re all doing this together in some way.”
According to Blake, funding for the library to upkeep this program will partially end by the end of December. This presents an opportunity for an application to be submitted to the Ontario Trillium Foundation this fall for a Grow Grant, which could come in this spring.
The planning of the Community of Making’s next steps came as it was announced that SIRCH Community Services has received a Seed Grant from the Trillium Foundation to invest in Repair Cafés, fixed meeting places where tools are available for community volunteers to repair a variety of items.
“As of yesterday, we got the grants to do the Repair Cafés,” said Gina Robertson, executive director for SIRCH Community Services.
According to Scott Michael Walling, co-ordinator for the Centre of Making at Haliburton School of Art + Design, thanks to their centre, people have access to equipment that can economically expand their creative enterprises.
“One of the artists in the area, she does mixed media works, after a while she heard of the laser cutter at the college,” said Walling. “She came up with an earring design. She is now fully capable of coming into the Centre for Making and using the laser, and I don’t need to babysit her. She does these laser cut earrings, and they sell like hotcakes because she comes in all the time and makes these giant sheets of these.”
Ideas include getting a mobile unit to transport the program throughout the community or investing in a set location for people to visit for all their creative technological projects.
One potential short-term solution could be to set up an interactive map for people to access online that allows them to see where to go for what type of service, which generated murmurs of support throughout the room.
“For the last little while I’ve been thinking of an interactive map kind of thing, where it shows the county, and then it shows all the little hubs of little things you can do,” said Walling. “But when you click on it, just like in Google Maps, it comes up with a list of inventory of things you can do at that space, and how to access it.”
Barriers to the organization’s growth and success include transportation, funding, space, staffing, differing interests from profit and non-profit partnerships, and consistency in programming and marketing.
“We’ve done the work, we’ve done the branding, we’ve got the domain,” said Nancy Therrien, programming and outreach co-ordinator for Haliburton County Public Library. “There’s a structure there, it just needs to be built and co-ordinated.”