Monday, October 1, 2012

A SUPER SPECIAL Night with Four Super-Awesome Ideas!

September's Awesome Calgary Thousand Dollar Thursday was SUPER SPECIAL, being held on a Saturday (instead of the normal fourth Thursday of the month) to coincide with Alberta Culture Days, Doors Open at King Edward and the milestone We Should Know Each Other #100!

There were so many things happening at the King Edward Arts Hub and Incubator during the weekend, and Awesome Foundation - Calgary was excited to be a part of it all!  Our Pitch Night event was sandwiched in-between speeches from Alberta's Minister of Culture, the Honourable Heather Klimchuk, and a performance by Calgary's first-ever Poet Laureate, Kris Demeanor.

Our emcee for the night, AF-Calgary Trustee of Awesome Sue McMaster, had her work cut out for her, and it was with that backdrop that the Top4 Finalists for September 2012 took to the stage to try to convince the Trustees and the audience why their idea should win the $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grant.

Pitch 1:  PODPLAYS: Downloadable Art for Your Ears

First up was Natalie Meisner with PODPLAYS:  Downloadable Art for Your Ears.

Created by Natalie and her students, these free PODPLAYS are downloadable plays designed specifically for your ears that anyone can access.  Some are best listened to in a certain location or site, some ask you to be a spectator on the move and listen while you walk or run a certain route, and some ask you to simply download, plug in your earphones, and close your eyes.

Natalie wishes to develop these plays to highlight unused or neglected spaces in the city core to the public.  This project would also allow Natalie's students first-hand experience working with professional directors and actors.

The entirety of the $1,000 would go towards hiring actors and directors instead of props and other high cost items.  Any leftover money would go towards promotion of the project.

Pitch 2:  52 Weaks Strong

Next up was 52 Weaks Strong by Jason Hagen.

52 Weaks Strong is a project to help build stronger marriages through journaling.  The way it works is that every week for one year, the husband in the relationship would be encouraged to ask his wife one question, and then the husband then has one week to create an experience or gift based on her response.  One side of the page of the journal entry for the week would contain the question and the answer, and the other side would contain the wife's account of the experience that he created for her.

The idea of the project would be to create a program that would try and help encourage stronger relationships one week at a time.

The $1,000 would go towards developing a template for the journal that anyone can access and download, as well as to start up a website where men can blog about their experiences.

Pitch 3:  Start-up of a Community Food Security Strategy

In third was Start-up of a Community Food Security Strategy by Quentin Sinclair.

Quentin's idea is to lead community events and workshops that teaches people about Food Security and the benefits of locally-sourced and sustainable foods centred around a new monthly winter farmer's market located in the Hillhurst-Sunnyside area to compliment the one already held during the summer.  A new monthly winter market would allow the existing summer farmers a break while still allowing them the opportunity to sell things that are available locally in winter.

10-15 vendors are already signed up for the program, and Quentin would use the $1,000 to promote and host supporting events leading up to the new farmer's market, to develop the workshops centred around cooking with food available locally over the winter months, as well as investigating other ways to develop programs that aim to reducing food insecurity in the long term.

Pitch 4:  Kmitt (a.k.a. Homesewn)

Last was Kmitt by Nick Meehan, formally known as Homesewn.

Inspired by the TOMS' Shoes initiative in Chicago where for every shoe purchased from their website, a pair of shoes is donated by the company to a person in need, Kmitt aims to create mittens from scratch in a one-for-one model for the homeless to help keep them warm and to create awareness for homelessness in Calgary, as well as to strengthen community bonds by engaging many people such as seniors groups to gather and knit together on a volunteer basis for a worthwhile cause.

The mittens would be easily distinguished from normal mittens through an accent piece with a simple colour contrast, promoting awareness of the issue of homelessness in Calgary (similar to how those popular red mittens raised awareness of sport and Canadian athletes during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics).

One ball of yarn is enough to create one pair of mittens, and 100% of the $1,000 would go towards knitting supplies to use in the project.

And The Winner Is…

Another tough month to decide on a winner, but Natalie Meisner wins our SUPER SPECIAL September 2012 no-strings-attached $1,000 micro-grant for her PODPLAYS project.  Congratulations, Natalie!

Make sure to check out in the coming weeks to learn more about how you can participate in the project.

A BIG Thank You to Mark Hopkins for including us in the We Should Know Each Other #100 extravaganza, and to cSPACE for allowing us to participate in Doors Open at King Edward.  The King Edward Arts Hub and Incubator will be an AMAZING collaborative space when it fully launches, so keep an eye out on that!

And if you missed this edition of We Should Know Each Other, keep an eye on for details on the next one and meet someone new!

Finally, we're still accepting submissions for our October 2012 prize.  The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, October 10 at 11:59 p.m. and if you'd like to submit an idea or project for consideration, fill out this handy-dandy web form!

Thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy evening to come down and watch, and we hope you'll join us next month as we return to our regular fourth-Thursday-of-the-month Thousand Dollar Thursday schedule!

In the meantime, relive the events of our SUPER SPECIAL Thousand Dollar Thursday by checking out our Storify piece!

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