The Art Cafe Social Enterprise project will build and operate a mobile espresso cart, which will be designed by community artists, bringing the community together to connect with the arts through a mobile cafe venue. This cart would roam through Queen’s park at different times of the day during the summer months (and will be active at a fixed community venue during the winter months). This social enterprise initiative is spearheaded by the Arts Council of New Westminster and has also, as its main goal, to provide work to unemployed or underemployed citizens who face barriers to employment. The cart will act as a fundraiser for the Arts Council of New Westminster, to enhance the gallery’s presence in the park and act as a “vehicle” for the marketing of artists and arts events in New Westminster. The funding will serve to finance the espresso cart, an essential component of the project.
For the duration of the initial phase of the project, the Arts Council of New Westminster, through the help of funding through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, will provide up to three eligible participants with up to 52 weeks of work experience and skill enhancement in the areas of Food and Drink Industry, as well as with arts and community development. The project will aim at developing a sustainability (and business) plan which employs workers who face challenges to employment year round.
The project aims at building a strong connection between the arts community and New Westminster’s residents, while providing training and sustainable work for people who face barriers to employment. The project will also provide a service that is not currently available at this time: the provision of a local mobile coffee shop in Queen’s Park. It will support community-building and connection in a beautiful environment. Furthermore, the project will increase New Westminster’s visibility as progressive and creative leader and agent of change.
The cost of this project is significant but the project is realistic. A espresso cart is estimated at around $15,000 to build. Fundraising is underway and we estimate that the grant would be a significant leverage to help obtain other grants, which often requires community contributions. The One Prize grant will contribute to partially fund the total cost of the cart.