In the end, Erin Woodgate’s idea was just a little more awesome than those of her fellow applicants for the inaugural Awesome London grant.
Awesome London, a 40-member community group that comes together to present monthly $1,000 grants to deserving recipients, held its first pitch party on Monday (Jan. 28) at the Joe Kool’s Restaurant. A crowd of more than 75 people and at least 10 of the Awesome London trustees (who contribute $100 each to the monthly grant fund) took in the party atmosphere of the event that unveiled the trio of proposals who made January’s final cut.
James Shelley, one of the Awesome London trustees, said he was looking forward to the evening’s pitches.
“These are great ideas that could, over time, have impact on the community,” Shelley said. “It is the kind of no holds barred optimism we need.”
Shelley said the ideas aren’t ones that will solve some large “systemic” problems, but will come together to make the community better. “And that fits a very important niche.”
The trio of proposals that made the final pitch night, which will be a monthly occurrence, all focused on artistic endeavours of one kind or another.
Ed Jackman was presenting his plans for Awesome London(ers), a proposal to take a red-coloured couch around the city to take pictures of deserving people, businesses and organizations. Heather Marvell created the idea of having an arts festival that would give residents the opportunity to not only show their love for art, but share their own unique talents as well.
But it was Erin Woodgate who convinced the trustees her idea was the most awesome. Woodgate’s idea, called When Was The Last Time You Had Your Photo Taken, will involve her photographing, with the help of hair and makeup artists, residents at local seniors homes and centres.
It was an experience her own grandmother once shared and inspired Woodgate to come up with her own awesome idea.
“We sit down with seniors, spending time with them, sharing in the wisdom, and take their portraits,” Woodgate said. “So I am looking forward to that and then giving them something to take back away from it, not only the picture, but the experience.”
It was a pitch that trustee Chris Moss said was the winner among her colleagues after some difficult deliberations. Moss said Woodgate was chosen because her idea would give local seniors the opportunity to share their stories with the community.
Erika Faust, another Awesome London trustee, said she hopes the winning ideas, along with ones that move forward even without the grant money, will hopefully impact the community in a variety of ways.
“It’s a way of connection others in London who are interested in sharing their awesome ideas,” Faust said. “We are looking for ideas that have a lot of energy and can help bring out the awesome in London. It’s exciting to be a part of that.
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