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Kamloops Arts Council Partners with Kamloops Makerspace to provide mentorship for COVID-19 PPE creation

“Make It Safe 123 – “Arts and Culture Coming Back Stronger”

KAMLOOPS ARTS COUNCIL has partnered with Kamloops Makerspace, a volunteer-run non-profit collective dedicated to sharing tools, space and skills, to propose this youth training project, which will fill a need in helping artists and arts and culture groups resume their activities in a safe and productive manner. During their Phase 1 COVID-19 Safety Plan, Kamloops Makerspace has been working beyond capacity creating items for several non-profit groups in the community, including COVID face shields for Royal Inland Hospital Foundation and signage and stickers for Kamloops Symphony Orchestra. Because they are strictly volunteer-based they can only do so much and have a waitlist of non-profits with projects to do but not enough manpower to do them.

One of the planned projects is creation of Social Distance barrier walls which will be used to create boundaries for safe workshop stations within the Old Courthouse and later used for art display walls as we all work to resume programming thoughtfully and safely. These would be used by various arts, culture and education groups and artists in the community such as Big Little Science Centre, Life Drawing Group, (TNFC) Thompson Nicola Shuswap Chapter of Federation Artists, and KAC members. Users of the Old Courthouse will not be the only beneficiary of this project as Makerspace is ready to mentor two youth to work with other non-profits to help create materials such as social distancing barriers, shields, signage, etc so organizations may resume and grow their activities and set up safely in the reopening phase.

The fact that we have a local volunteer-driven group like Makerspace with the equipment and expert skill-sets to fill these needs for the various groups is amazing – the fact that they are stretched past their capacity is a compelling reason to train three unemployed or underemployed youth to help with these projects. Youth will learn new skills while learning to use the various equipment safely: in the Design Lab using a vinyl cutter and printer for signage, the Wood and Fabrication shops for barrier creation and laser cutter shop for face shields and other COVID related manufacturing, as well as learning to design, create, package and install the items for various non-profits dealing with reopening issues during COVID-19. Aside from learning to use the equipment in the various labs at Makerspace, the youth will work with mentors to assess needs and problem solve with various arts and culture groups in the area. It will not only fill a need in our community but will prepare them for potential employment, self-employment or future contract work in a time where finding work is also a challenge.

What Kamloops Arts Council Executive Director, Terri Hadwin has to say about the program, “we couldn’t be happier that we are able to come together with a stellar group like Makerspace that is doing supportive work within our community right now, to mentor young individuals in their creative path, while learning to use equipment that creates PPE and other wonderful things to keep us all in a safer environment. We are so very grateful for the opportunity this funding has allowed us to move forward on.”

CALLS TO ACTION:
Please contact Lorel at outreach@kamloopsarts.ca for any of the following:

1) If your non-profit group or arts related business is needing help with creating a COVID- 19 response plan and wish to be put on a wait list for “Make It Safe” products or signage.

2) If you or your business are able to help with donations either monetary or actual materials and supplies towards any of these initiatives (ie: lumber, plywood, plexi, vinyl, etc). A tax-receipt may be issued for donations over $25.

3) If you or your business is interested in hiring any of the youth after they have developed skills through this training program.

Funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement

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