GCAC Presents: Wonderland Rising
As yet, Wonderland doesn’t exist in a physical sense, but the idea of it already has a phenomenal life of its own. Since the project’s founders first stood before a tightly packed crowd at Junctionview Studios in January and unveiled the idea of multiple creative endeavors in a single space, Wonderland has amassed remarkable public and civic support. Given its diversity and its promise for various segments of the local creative community, the concept has grown to represent different things to different people. It can be easy to miss the full scope of Wonderland in the excitement over its parts.
As previously reported, Wonderland will offer an unprecedented mix of artist studio space, gallery space, retail space, recording studio, performance and event space, shared office space, a physical fitness space and a restaurant and bar – a virtual one-stop shop of creative endeavors and entertainment. While some have called it an “arts project,” we prefer “creative space.” It better recognizes the contributions of the chefs, studio engineers, start-up entrepreneurs and others who will share innovations unrelated to traditional art mediums.
For visitors, tenants, and the city, there’s much more to the big picture.
The tenant mix will generate opportunities for organic collaboration. For example, a couple planning a wedding in the event space—they may find within the building a designer for invitations, a jewelry artist for rings, a retailer with the right gifts for the wedding party and a band to play their reception.
This is one way of realizing Wonderland’s goal, to catalyze the city’s creative community through an unconventional, interconnected, self-sustaining business model. Whether through public workshops, programming efforts, tenant mentoring programs or partnerships with neighborhood groups, service organizations and other non-profits, collaboration is what will drive its success, and ultimately position Wonderland as a key contributor to the cultural and economic landscape. While there is only so much ground that can be covered by any one space, the possibilities are as wide as the pool of creative talent that calls Columbus home.
The past several months have been spent building the operational structure to support the full vision. Work continues daily, led by newly appointed Executive Director Adam Brouillette and Board President Brady Konya. Among the board and founders, the project’s collaborative spirit already exists, along with a shared commitment to do right by its potential. It is a lengthy process with many meetings with lawyers, contractors, consultants and creative stakeholders to determine best practices and use of resources, but progress is steady.
And now, there is an opportunity for all of Wonderland’s supporters to collaborate toward its success. All we need is a little of your time, an Internet connection and cell phone plan.
Wonderland is currently in the running for a Pepsi Refresh grant, which would cover $250,000 in renovation costs, and recipients are selected based on the results of electronic voting. Help make Wonderland happen. We need your vote twice a day, every day, until the October 31 deadline: once online at www.refresheverything.com/wonderland and once by texting 103235 to 73774.
GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.