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CAO-13-004 - The Kitchener Studio Project

CAO-13-004 - The Kitchener Studio Project

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Published by WonderfulWaterloo
Kitchener Studio Project
Kitchener Studio Project

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Published by: WonderfulWaterloo on Apr 23, 2013
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07/20/2014

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REPORT TO:
 
Finance and Corporate Services Committee
 
DATE OF MEETING:
 
 April 22, 2013
 
SUBMITTED BY:
 
Rod Regier, Executive Director (519-741-2200 x7506)
 
PREPARED BY:
 
Silvia Di Donato, Manager Arts and Culture (519-741-2200x7392)
 
WARD(S) INVOLVED:
 
 All
 
DATE OF REPORT:
 
 April 16, 2013
REPORT NO.:
 
CAO-13-004
 
SUBJECT:
 
KITCHENER STUDIO PROJECT
 
RECOMMENDATION:
That staff facilitate the community partners to launch the “Kitchener Studio Project”
(KSP) at 44 Gaukel Street; and further,That the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to enter into an agreement with ConestogaCollege Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, to use a portion of 44 Gaukel
Street, Kitchener for the “Kitchener Studio Project”
(KSP); said agreement to be to thesatisfaction of the City Solicitor.SUMMARY:
This report outlines a unique collaborative initiative called the
Kitchener Studio Project
(KSP)with the goal to develop and showcase academic collaboration for art, design and digital contentcreators.The Kitchener Studio Project will include academic and industry partners, as well as the regionalarts community. The project furthers Kitchener Economic Development strategy for diversifiedand strengthened economic impact by fulfilling the identified need for creative talent, especiallyin the area of digital content creation. Located at 44 Gaukel Street, the activities during day andevening will greatly add to downtown vitality, transforming a currently vacant area of 10,000square feet into a space with significant community and economic impact.
BACKGROUND:
Waterloo Region is well known for talent in computer science, engineering and mathematics,but it is much less well known for art and design. It is also recognized that content creation for digital devices is key to strategic success in digital media. Art, narrative, usability and designtalent are required to provide online, mobile applications, gaming and entertainment content.
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To sustain and diversify the local economy, a comprehensive talent offering is essential toattract and retain digital businesses. This is a strategic concern for Kitchener and the WaterlooRegion as content creation and digital technology are currently evolving symbiotically. Contentis driving technology and technological development enables the evolution of content. Both arerequired to build a truly competitive digital media cluster.Digital media companies locating in the Kitchener area have already indicated their siteselection requirements include nearby access to art and design talent. They require effectivecontent creators to fully develop their innovations, such as visual graphics for smartphoneapplications or music composition for gaming environments. Co-locating these businessfunctions is necessary for collaboration and consolidated location costs. The result issustainable and diversified employment impacts on the community.Research indicates that artists are critical to attracting all categories of talent to Kitchener as theplace to find a fulfilling quality of community life. In addition to content creation, art and design isrequired to differentiate products and services in the new economy. Designing a great customer experience is the true competitive advantage, and these features need trained high caliber designers to succeed. The impact is also measurable for product design, advancedmanufacturing and has impact on every other economic sector in the community.
REPORT:
The concept of the Kitchener Studio Project provides needed opportunities to showcase,highlight and collaborate with design in the community. This concept can ensure that Kitchener is highly competitive in the regional, national and international new economy.This project has a preliminary five year timeline, during which planning, experimentation andevaluation will result in long term ideal organization and governance. At that point, the City of Kitchener will determine the most appropriate use for the building at 44 Gaukel Street.The Kitchener Studio Project is a collaboration of multiple regional stakeholders comprised of academic institutions, technology sector partners and arts community groups. At the writing of this report, leading representatives from Conestoga College, University of Waterloo and WilfridLaurier University are agreeing to collaborate in this space, including the Critical Media Lab, theGames Institute and the School of Media and Design. Additionally we have support fromCommunitech, Christie Digital and Electronic Arts, as well as interest from CAFKA andKWArtzLab. Conestoga College will be the lead tenant. The project is intended to develop 44Gaukel Street as a location for displaced tenants at 156-158 King West, and combining theseuses with a collaborative design learning environment. The expected timing is approximatelyfive years as a pilot project after which time the project can be evaluated.
Kitchener Studio Project Vision:
Kitchener Studio Project is a collaborative space where art and design talent connect with thearts, education and business community.Objectives:1. Create a collaborative space for enhanced academic and research opportunities for local  post-secondary students engaged in digital media content creation.2. Showcase design talent required for digital media and other sectors providing comprehensive business success, establishing a brand in Kitchener as a source for thefull spectrum of creative talent;
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