It has been nearly six years since I first moved my design business into Art Central in downtown Calgary. At the time, my plan was to have a nice design studio and, as a side business, I would also have a small shop selling design-related books and stationery. Thus UPPERCASE was born. I mused that someday I'd like to publish books under the same name, so I designed a logo that would look good on a book spine. I didn't think I'd delve into publishing so quickly nor so thoroughly, but I love it.
Alas, I had to close the physical retail aspect of UPPERCASE one year ago. Expecting a baby was a big factor in the decision, but also the cost of maintaining store inventory plus paying magazine print bills was just too much to take on. Customers through the building had begun to dwindle and Art Central didn't have the buzz of activity and energy that it once had. I had far more web traffic and online orders than actual people coming through the door and the need to focus my business to an online model was very clear.
I still love my studio space in Art Central and plan on revamping it to meet my current needs (baby-proofing?) I hope to be able to work downtown on a more regular basis now that Finley is approaching his first birthday. I have lots of ideas for events, workshops and the like to best make use of the space... it is just a matter of finding time!
I am dedicated to staying in Art Central; I think the place still has loads of potential as a focal point for creativity and community in Calgary. However, over the past two years, tenants have come and gone and it has definitely been seeing some tough times. We could blame this on the economy but that's an easy excuse. I would like to hear your opinion on Art Central. What can we do to make it better? What would you like to see happening in the building? What sort of tenants would be a good fit? What would you like to see and do in UPPERCASE?
Please leave your comments below or if you have something lengthy to say, please email me.