Josh Arnold, founder and Executive Director of G.A.L.A., engages a group discussing the possibilities inherent in the organization's developing Makerspace. (Photo by Elissa Paquette) (click for larger version)
September 12, 2018WOLFEBORO — The public took center stage on Aug. 22 in the Great Hall during Global Awareness Local Action's (G.A.L.A.) visioning session for development of a Community Makerspace in Wolfeboro. G.A.L.A. purchased the former Wolfeboro Power Equipment building at 23 Bay St. last fall, culminating a three year search for just the right building to house its dreams.
Founder and Executive Director Josh Arnold spoke to the nearly 70 people from Wolfeboro and its environs: Ossipee, Tuftonboro, Tamworth and Sandwich among the hometowns at the start of the evening session. True to G.A.L.A.'s principles of inclusion, Arnold emphasized the phrase "nothing about us without us" and said, "It is important that the people we are designing this space for, are the same people we are designing this space with."
Leslie Benson of the architectural design team of Scott Simons Architects (SSA) encouraged the audience "to speak your wildest dreams...in this brief moment in time...open up, listen, and share ideas."
She pointed out some of the readily discernible assets of the location of the 14,000 square foot building – its proximity to the downtown core, its walkability, and its water views, and spoke of the potential for its use for business incubation, a coworking space, a tool library, a repair cafe, the list goes on.
Members of the design team joined facilitators Arnold, Jeannie Burns, Molly Messenger and Susan Warren in discussion of three main areas of project visioning: Tools, Equipment, and Studio Space; Business Incubation, Career Pathways, Workforce Development; and Community Engagement & Collaboration, providing G.A.L.A. with more comments to add to their data base.
The most exciting aspect of the event, said Arnold, after a week to reflect, is the "overlap in interests from different sectors of the community." He enjoyed hearing the cross conversations among artists and business interests, for instance, a sure "sign of the seeds of collaboration being planted." And he thought the timing of the visioning event, in tandem with Wolfeboro's Master Plan process, was good.
Arnold encourages participation in an online survey posted on galacommunity.org. Around 300 have taken the survey; he'd like to have around 500. For more information, contact Arnold at 569-1500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.