Update on The Welcome Project 2018 Grant Recipient: Wave Pool
2018 Grant Recipient Wave Pool – The Welcome Project space is to include a fresh food market and teaching/learning kitchen.
Due to construction delays the kitchen/market has not fully opened . After a long permitting process the HVAC installation and inspection were finished. Plans for the kitchen were finalized and approved. The kitchen space was demoed and repairs to the flooring were made in preparation for laying tile. Plumbing hookups have been installed and electrical is underway. Hopefully, depending on the contractor’s progress, the kitchen will be open by the new year.
Working with the Community Board continuously on this project and on maintaining the community garden. The Urban Farm has hired a new farmer who is very passionate about The Welcome Project and determined to provide food to be available in our market. Dean‘s Mediterranean is proving to be a close partner, and has agreed to stock the market with bulk spices and dry goods as well as assist with catering opportunities, pop-up dinners, and cooking classes.
Welcome Project has regular hours in the main storefront on Fridays and Saturdays.
A new bread oven was built in the back yard and classes, pizza parties, and other events are held using this new resource!
Erika Allen, a Guatemalan immigrant (also an artist and Camp Washington resident!) was hired in March to manage the project. She has done an incredible job at connecting with new organizations and communities around the city to reach new people and assist a broader community of immigrants and refugees. She assists refugee and immigrant artists by connecting them to the storefront to sell their goods and keep inventory, helping design/redesign their personal logo and branding, and connecting them to other business resources that are specific to their needs. Erika also organizes all of the special events and classes at Welcome, including the Cincinnati Table dinners, new bread oven events, the weekly ceramics classes and other specific workshops.
Currently 25 refugee/immigrant artists to teach classes, cook community meals, and develop art products for the store.
One of the goals is to engage and impact 40 new refugee/immigrants over a 3 year period – All of the 25 aforementioned refugee and immigrants are new to The Welcome Project since January 2019 and are assisting with envisioning and honing in on a retail line of art products, preparing pop up meals through our Cincinnati Table program, and are teaching art classes or hosting other events with the public. In addition to those mentioned above we have many more immigrants and refugees that attend the classes taught by this core group as well as come to our weekly ceramics classes and pop-up dinners.
Unexpected successes have come from the community ceramics classes and the strong connections being made with the Latino community in Cincinnati. The weekly ceramics classes have been very well attended, typically about 20 people per class, and consist of a diverse mix of refugees and immigrants, artists, and neighborhood kids. Those that attend have formed a community unto themselves, and while their skills build in clay work, so do their friendships. The kids that attend are so proud of their work, and the connections being made between the artists and the immigrants have created some really beautiful conversations and projects.
What is your sustainability plan? Has that changed since you last submitted a report to Impact 100?
We are still planning on having Welcome be self-sustaining through earned revenue within 6 months. While we explored the coop model, the immigrants spearheading that initiative would like to wait on doing that until the project is sustaining itself, as that would eliminate the potential for further grant funds. From our budget projections, we do believe it can sustain itself once the market/kitchen is open.