In the past few months, Downtown Orlando and Thornton Park lost a great gem - the one independent bookstore within miles of town. The Urban Think! Bookstore was a community-minded, education-focused, welcoming, original, and fun place to be. The many iterations of the store over the years, including the kids bookstore, the cafe, and even local vendors selling baked goods, handmade items, and other local goodies made it an exemplary space for other local businesses to emulate.
In March, Urban Think! closed its doors after 8 years. A few years ago, their education and children's programs spawned the Urban Think! Foundation and Page 15, their first project. Now a new project is beginning, dubbed Urban Re-Think for now. I have been involved with several preliminary meetings with Julia young, the executive director of Page 15, and Darren McDaniel, the former Programming Director for the Downtown Media Arts Center. There are many other people involved, such as the Urban Think! Foundation's Board of Directors, and Katie Ball, local pot-stirrer, and star of public radio. I'm sure the list will grow beyond blog-post length before long.
Right now, we have reached a point where we want to reach out to you, the Orlando community, and find out what you'd like to get out of a community center in the heart of Downtown. There are lots of benefits to the location and the involvement of the people who have been brought in so far, and it can only get better.
For myself, I'm looking to gain a place to work, hold meetings, events, provide training, meet my creative peers and role-models, and continue to support the community in any way I can. If we had a clubhouse, a place where we could feel safe, and where we had control, I think we could build something really amazing.
I've got all kinds of fun ideas, but before this becomes Ryan's own personal Urban Think!, I'd like to point you to our survey. Please check it out, and take a few minutes to tell us about you, your creative pursuits, and how this community center might help you reach your goals, and take away a few of the road blocks we all face.
Commenting on this Blog post is closed.