We're using indiegogo to raise funds for capital improvement at The Foundry. Every donation level has perks - craft items, workshops, dinners and more, and all donations are tax-deductible. Join us in directly supporting The Foundry so it can continue to grow as a vibrant creative community space for Buffalo.
We'll be premiering "Red, White & Blueprints", a documentary film project that highlights several of the most innovative initiatives, individuals, and emerging ideas in the Rust Belt, and makes the case for why we still matter as a region. From St. Louis to Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, & beyond; the sole intention of this film is to inform and inspire a new generation of leaders to take the vital actions necessary to revitalize our great region.
After the film showing, fifteen local community/activist organizations will each have three minutes to "pitch" themselves and invite supporters, donations or members to step up and help their efforts.
A Seminar by local author and expert Willie A. Price
Did your home get sick over the winter?
One of the best ways to spring your home into action following a long, cold winter is to take time now, once the spring thaw arrives to do some simple home maintenance checks. As winter leaves us with its guarantee of ice damage, snow, and frigid temperatures, you should begin to take actions early to maintain and protect your home for the next season.
Willie A. Price (willieapricespeaks.com) is a celebrated Self Published author of several publications about homes and housing issues: “Property Managment Made Easy” and the “Making Your House Your Home” (Book Series). His youth publication “This Week In Black History” is a major tool used with his motivational / self esteem workshops for youth: “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”. This has been a featured workshop at the Annual Niagara Falls, NY: “Male Summit”. His Inspirational CD for youth and adults, “2nd Chance” is the life changing incident resulting from a 25 ft. fall in January 2012.
At today's "graduation ceremony" with City Honors High School seniors here at the Foundry, I was reminded of the advice from a dear friend and mentor who commented one day over coffee, "Everyone should develop a trade, a career, and entrepreneurial skills as their preparation for successful life."
For the past five weeks, these future engineers, educators, business leaders, and scientists tried their hands at a whole diversity of trades and witnessed first hand the work of some creative entrepreneurs here at the Foundry. From the construction of earth ovens to learning the meaning of 16" OC (on center); from developing safe power tool operation skills to developing masonry and welding skills, from gardening to natural building; these young people did it all and they contributed immensely to our effort.
We thank them for their time, their diligence, their hard work, their willingness to get dirty and try something completely different. Like so many of our pioneer residents, investors, and community members, they are people of action. They worked hard to support this community, to improve our local environment, and to expand their own learning. The Foundry and all of our friends extend to each of our City Honors Interns our heartfelt thanks!
Onward and Good Luck to you all as you explore, learn, and do!
It was just one year ago today that Rusted Grain moved into The Foundry, painted their walls a brilliant neon green, and set up shop as the first Foundry resident. Little did we know that within the year we’d have an entire community of residents, collaborating, creating and working together to build something that would endure for years to come. While in many ways our work is just beginning, there are so many signs that our hard work is paying off and we thank you all for your consistent support.
Most recently an entire community of technology enthusiasts – Buffalo Lab, A Makerspace - has brought a unique mix of innovation, curiosity, tinkering and making to the space. And if you’re lucky, during your next visit, the smells of coffee roasting and beer brewing will fill the air.
If you haven’t made it to The Foundry for a visit yet, we’re confident that in the next year you will. Not only because we’ll be offering the space as a venue for Live Music, the Infringement Art Festival, and outside of the box speakers and educators; but also because the Foundry will be hosting an entire schedule of workshops, DIY teach-ins, and meet-ups that bring folks from the community together to learn, share, inspire, build, and act.
In the next month, we’ll be soliciting your ideas, your support, your engagement and your energy, but we’ll also be delivering skills, inspiration, resources, and tools to help you, our neighbors, and the Buffalo community to pursue personal goals, build small, green businesses, and engage in the process of community action in Buffalo.
As the economic and educational system grows and expands in the coming months, you’ll also notice major infrastructure changes. Walls are going up, old electrical circuits are coming down, underused doors and alleyways are being cleared. And we’d be remiss if we were to overlook the huge contribution Davis Ulmer Sprinkler and their team of trainers and apprentices will be making in the coming months. The hugest challenge of the building is the complete overhaul of the sprinkler system and now with their in-kind support, that challenge will be met. We thank them for being a significant player in our growth.
Come for a visit and learn more about our residents, our goals for the coming year, and our role in driving community focused action in Buffalo. Saturday, June 8th from Noon to Five is your next opportunity.
Fresh food, talented artisans, opportunities to engage and learn, and a great community vibe. We hope to see you there and if you miss us Saturday, stay tuned for other invitations coming your way!
Posted by Michael Gainer · January 14, 2013 10:01 AM
A Great Beginning
When our small team of artisans and contractors first moved into the building at 298 Northampton Street last April, we had only a shell of a plan for the building. We knew we wanted to create a community of artisans, because collaborative work can be so much more inspiring than working alone. We knew we wanted to create an anchor institution in the neighborhood, to provide a place for people to come together to share and learn. We knew there was a need for an innovative environment where new ideas can be born and nurtured.
So we started. We shared our intentions with others, invited others to get involved, and opened our doors to the community. In just over eight months, we've hosted theater productions, puppet shows, our monthly Saturday Sale, the steadily expanding artistic creation of a local architect, and numerous other community events. We've collaborated to build out spaces in order to create humble, affordable workspaces for emerging artisans. And we've brainstormed a plan and structure we're confident can get us to the next level.
2013 is about realizing our intentions. It’s about building, and playing, and experimenting. It’s about creating a home for more artisans, about sharing and teaching those who want to learn more. We're finalizing the process of acquiring the building and developing a master plan for how the building will grow over the next twelve months. By year’s end, we hope to have the building 70% occupied with metal workers, fiber artisans, woodworkers, glass workers, and expanded programming for the community. Our vision of building an affordable community workspace for artists and artisan is coming into focus.
A Vibrant, Local, Green Economy
Though we love the opportunities for community engagement that occur under The Foundry's roof, our biggest priority is to incubate and support small businesspeople and changemakers who are the backbone of a vibrant, local, and green economy here in Western New York.
Our master plan is expanding:
We’ll include local food entrepreneurs by incorporating a community kitchen and cafe which sources the majority of its produce from community gardens and urban farms.
We’ll be collaborating with local education institutions to implement an entrepreneurial program that helps develop good ideas into strong business plans for the community.
Our educational programs will help share new ideas with the local community so they can make more informed decisions in their energy use and purchasing.
This effort, like any new effort, grows and expands with the input of those who care, those who believe another way is possible. We invite you to get involved. Our community is growing, and there’s room for you. Share our work with your friends and family. Bring them out for a Second Saturday event, we have one Saturday February 9 (see the schedule below), or mail us if you're interested in contributing your time and skills to writing this next chapter. We’re so excited about what lies ahead and we hope to see you soon.
Second Saturday at The Foundry
Saturday, February 9, 2013 - Noon to Five
Art & Craft made by local artists and artisans
Come buy presents or shop for yourself
Support LOCAL artists and artisans!
SOLE of Buffalo's Urban Agriculture Series - Class #2 - Winter Seeding!
Live Acoustic Music
Enjoy good food and live music
Fresh Produce from local farms
The world-famous Kissing Museum!
Food & Refreshments by Chef Stefan of Three Brothers Catering
Posted by Michael Gainer · November 08, 2012 12:40 PM
For the first ten years of my professional life, I spent a considerable amount of time working in the field of education. I taught at public schools and private schools. I did a lot of mentoring of youth in alternative/outdoor education programs. I helped found a not-for-profit, private school focused exclusively on supporting the individual needs and interests of young people who struggled in traditional education models. Through these experiences, I've seen amazing successes and abysmal failures.
A Great Concern
The issue of dropouts from our public high schools across the country should be one of our greatest concerns as we consider the future of our nation, yet I feel it’s an issue that’s largely ignored. Programs exist to meet the needs of some youth who have left school, but increasingly I’m finding the services don’t address their needs.
Looking at the Big Picture
At Net Positive, our focus on community education is intended to look “big picture” at these educational gaps and propose solutions to leverage existing resources to meet new, emerging issues.
A small group of friends and I have been grappling with this issue for years. We don’t just sit around and lament the fact that young adults who drop out make up a growing percentage of the prison population (in some states greater than 50%) or that young adults who drop out are more likely to be underemployed or live in poverty (we have lots of stats to back up these facts, for sure). We actually have ideas, we have a real plan.
So when you have a plan you talk to folks about it. We’ve been working on a year-long program/curriculum for young adults ages 17-28 for several years now. It combines mentoring, interpersonal development, and educational opportunities, with a real work component that generates revenue to support the program. Based on our experiences, we have learned what really makes an impact in the lives of youth. Most notably, unconditional support, belief in a young person’s ability to contribute and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others, high expectations, good models of a diligent work ethic and meaningful work.
The Limits of the Current Approach
A couple of weeks ago we met with the recently appointed Administrative Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Development Consortium, Inc.
We learned that our program just “doesn’t fit in” to the structure in place at the local, state, and federal levels to address the needs of dropouts.
We were explicitly told that training programs do only that, training. If a young person has an issue, or a social need, or is struggling with the challenges life has delivered, social services are available for those young people.
Posted by Michael Gainer · October 10, 2012 6:41 PM
Webster defines SENSIBLE as “having, using, or showing good sense or sound judgement”. I don't know what’s going on in my universe this week, but I keep getting extreme examples thrown in my face of what just doesn’t seem to me to make a lot of sense.
In our purpose statement defining our intentions in starting Net+Positive, we explicitly refer to “common sense housing” as one of our goals. We support and advocate for housing models that are cost-effective, energy efficient, AND good for the planet. When it comes to houses, when we say “sustainable”, we want to answer the questions “Will it still be viable five or ten years from now?” and “Can a working family afford to live here?”
We have many ideas in this area and you’ll see those ideas in action in the coming year—use of reclaimed materials, coordination with other organizations to provide relevant on-the-job learning and training opportunities, incorporation of natural building techniques—the ideas are endless. And yet, these options seem so distant from our current realities.
One Kind of Green
Last week, I was speaking to a client who boasted about the project he was supervising, a 14,000 square foot residential building (single-family home), LEED Platinum (the highest rank of the national green building standard, as defined by the US Green Building Council).
In fact, this structure will be the world's LARGEST LEED Platinum home. I guess I should have been gleaming with pride to be standing witness to the “advancement” of our construction industry and its “green” parts, but instead I stood speechless. 14,000 square feet? Green? You decide! In my world, a building of this size is the antithesis of GREEN, by nature of its size alone, I don't care how much insulation you throw in those walls.
Jony James is overflowing with soul. It drips down from his hands onto his guitar, in lyrically urgent bends and intense ethereal assaults. It pours out through his weathered, leathery voice, telling vivid, open-minded tales of a tumultuous life, with his impressive song writing skills. His jovial, yet pensive nature is evident in both his music and stage presence.Check out Jony's website here.
Delicious food by Chef Stefan of Three Brothers Catering!
Posted by Michael Gainer · September 05, 2012 9:42 PM
· 2 reactions
Start with a small idea . . .
The Super Saturday Sales at The Foundry started when Kevin Hayes, a Net+Positive co-founder, pushed for a way to get rid of some of the extra materials that had begun to gather dust around the building.
We are definitely a community of trash pickers and we’d much rather see materials leveraged to make something new, but sometimes we just have too much stuff lying around. So the Super Saturday Sales began.
. . . end up with a big result
Now just a few months later, on every Second Saturday we have a growing cast of artisans selling their wares, live music every month, talented folks who demonstrate their skills, fun activities for kids, fresh food and produce, a growing number of new friends and supporters – and we've sold a few old doors, too!
It all became a reality because someone decided it was important enough to just start!
More than the usual Talk Talk Talk . . .
Net+Positive is about creating positive change through ACTION! You gotta get things started, even if you don’t have anyone to help out with what you’re starting. If the idea or project is any good, someone will come along to help. If you haven’t started it, that person won’t be there, he or she will be doing something else, that somebody else started.
Here's a truth most of us know - there are plenty of people out there just waiting for some kind of actual progress. There are plenty of people who want to actually be doing something rather than the usual talk talk talk.
I think we, all of you and all of us at Net+Positive, ARE those people!
Babik (pronounced Bah-Beek) is a progressive Gypsy Jazz band inspired by the legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt. In their six years together Babik has reached across generational and stylistic lines, creating a fan base that is as diverse as their musical influences. At Babik’s concerts it is not uncommon to see a white-haired 75 year-old grandmother dancing next to a purple-haired 20-something. Check out their website here.
Food and Cooking Demonstrations by Three Brothers Catering!
At The Foundry, 298 Northampton Street, Buffalo, New York 14209 (map here)Artists & Artisans: Do you make things and live locally? Are you interested in selling at the sale? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Megan at 716-912-5529.
This month' events include music by the Andrew J. Reimers Country Punk Extravaganza, locally produced artisan crafts, locally harvested and unique architectural materials, great food including GOODIES FROM THE GARDEN, and an awesome Beer Brewing workshop by a local craft brewer.
Saturday Sales occur every Second Saturday of the month and feature the work of local artisans, musicians, culinary artists, and educators. Caesandra Seawell, Net+Positive's Director of Shenanigans, says "This is more than an opportunity for artisans to sell their work; artists share their inspiration with each other and their public. My hope has always been that our impact on the community is an exchange of inspiration, that people will say, "Well, if they can do it, so can I - I can pursue my idea and develop my talent and enjoy my work."
Net Positive is inspired by and engaged in opportunities to support local enterprise and entrepreneurship, sensible housing alternatives that incorporate reclaimed materials, and educational programs to benefit the planet and people too, more information at netpositivefoundation.org/about.