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heART school – Constructing a Creative Community Centre


Have you ever had one of those moments where things come together and you get ridiculously excited for them? That’s what happened when Shane and I visited Carrie at the heART school.

Carrie Harper in her heART School studio.

heART school Kelowna is the result of a dream shared by co-founders Carrie Mitchell and Jesse Padgett. Carrie had moved into a little corner studio above the Starbucks downtown, taking a huge risk to further herself and her art. In the seven years Carrie worked in the space her unique vision transformed a tiny corner studio into the central hub of Kelowna’s art scene. Now, slightly a year after its inception, heART school has a studio that’s more than tripled in size, a second building being renovated, and more artists than you can fill an underground indie coffee shop with. They are poised to flip Kelowna’s arts and culture scene on its head, and that’s a fantastic thing.

Their second space (right beside their first location) is envisioned to be a place where people will congregate and do amazing things. The ground floor will have a large open gallery, where events will happen, gatherings will take place, and musicians will play. With easy street access their hope is that people will feel welcome to flow into the space and take part in what’s happening. This sort of ‘flow’ is vital to our blossoming community. Feeling welcomed into the space lets anybody come on in and take part of what’s happening, regardless of who you are or what you do.

Similar to co+Lab, Carrie’s vision at heART school lines up with philosophies of coworking and community. Its not about how many square feet you get in the space, it’s about the people and community that you become part of. Instead of simply being a desk or an easel that you sit at outside of your home, it becomes your home away from home. You surround yourself with people doing things just as awesome as the things you’re doing. Ideas flow back and forth, inspiration strikes from the conversations you have, and techniques are shared among your fellow co-workers.

The most exciting part though? Well, that’s the future. Seeing where we can take our coworking communities, learning how we can work together, and sharing our spaces for the benefit of the community as a whole.

heART school, you’ve touched my heart. Keep doing what you’re doing!

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