When the Hardware and Advanced Manufacturing Lab opened almost a year ago, it wanted to build a place where the Arts, technology, and broader community could come together and support each other. Expanding operations into the Kitchener downtown core allowed it to have a deeper impact in the Waterloo Region beyond supporting tech startups and companies. Being located in the core of downtown comes with unique opportunities to work with organizations that strive to improve the everyday well-being of youth and underprivileged groups and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to expand our impact on the community through the programs in the building.
One of the core mandates when opening the facility was to create an Arts and Tech collision space. Partnering with ArtsBuild Ontario meant that the floor would be inhabited not only by hardware and IoT startups, but also arts organizations and freelancers. ArtsBuild Ontario also facilitates a rehearsal space, which has seen more than 700 booked hours since we opened our doors officially in the September of 2016.
Along with the internal Arts & Culture community within the building, we’ve also connected with the larger Arts community in the Waterloo Region. We partnered with ArtShine/Arts4All, a local organization that provides Arts programs to groups that might not normally be able to afford them, to create a brand-new gallery space in the building. The O Gallery @ 44, opened on May 25th, 2017 with more than 150 pieces of art from students, refugees, and freelance artists. The gallery opening was an incredible success and brought hundreds of people through the space to showcase the work being done here by both the arts and technology communities.
In addition to the partnerships we’ve formed with the arts community, the Accelerator Centre has also developed a strong connection with the charity organizations House of Friendship and Junior Achievers. The House of Friendship held their February team meeting in the Lounge at Gaukel and then had a full tour of the space where they were able to learn more about both the technologies being developed here and the arts community. Some of the AC companies even have begun discussions with the House of Friendship to help volunteer at some of their summer camps and events. Junior Achievers will be holding their summer camps at the facility in July and August and working with resident company InkSmith.
Expanding our operations into the Kitchener downtown core has allowed us to have a deeper impact in the Waterloo Region beyond supporting tech startups and companies. At 44 Gaukel, we’ve taken the opportunity to better support hardware, IoT and advanced manufacturing startups, and used it to connect with the Arts, as well as work with local charities and NGOs. If you’re interested in learning more about the organizations we mentioned or to donate to their causes, please check out their websites: