‘Giving back’ to the art community

The Bright Blue Door’s new Creative Tank provides a cost-efficient space for artists in Waterloo


Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

Aaron Lundrigan and Nancy Barbosa are the faces behind the Bright Blue Door’s Creative Tank. The Bright Blue Door advocates for local artists by providing a creative space that allows for the production of art while also giving the artists the option of making a profit from their art through the Bright Blue Door’s marketing hub.

“Our creative tank is our open concept studio in Waterloo, and it’s a space where we can have up to 23 artists in various sizes — open spaces where they can paint, or if they need desk space. The idea is to create a place where you can come and create art and do it in a shared space so that it costs a little bit less than all the other options,” said Lundrigan.

With the studio doors opening on March 1, the partnership has already acquired eight artists to use the Creative Tank with the option of using the marketing hub to sell their art, with the artist receiving 70 per cent of the profit of each sale.

The duo calls this method their “social enterprise model,” in which artists who do not have the time to fully commit to reaching out to the community using their art as of yet can use the Bright Blue Door as a platform and a resource.

“We’ve got a few other programs that we’re working on right now that will really create an amplifier for artists,” said Barbosa.

“It’s for people who want to get out to the community but don’t know if it’s a full time gig for them yet, but they have that stepping stone now.”

One program the Bright Blue Door plans to implement is pop-up shows at least once a month to expose as much art as possible. This will allow the Bright Blue Door to engage with various events and establishments within the community.

An example of this community engagement is with Napa Wine Bar in Cambridge. The Bright Blue Door will have art produced by local artists available for purchase at the restaurant, and the customer will be able to use their smart phone to view the artist’s online gallery and make a purchase. The restaurant will also be creating a menu piece inspired by one of Barbosa’s art works.

“That tie-in takes art from something being passive on the wall, to something that creates a marketing opportunity that nobody else has been able to do. It becomes an overall experience,” said Barbosa.

The Bright Blue Door is dedicated to focusing on the community. As a Wilfrid Laurier University alumnus, Lundrigan believes the idea of giving back has always been instilled at Laurier and has inspired him to do the same on a larger scale.

“I did LOCUS, Foot Patrol and ERT and the idea of giving back is so intrinsic here that when I left I really missed that, and so finding opportunities to come full circle and to do that in the community where I started is awesome,” said Lundrigan.

The official grand opening launch for the Bright Blue Door is on April 4, as Lundrigan and Barbosa look forward to reaching out to other artists and members of the community.

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