Names are Hard

I’m trying to name this Oak Park arts center concept thingie, so I have something to put on the grant applications, and it’s tricky.  For one, the Oak Park Arts Center – already exists! It’s a rental performance space. There’s also already an Oak Park Arts League, Oak Park Arts Council, and Oak Park Arts District. So I think we actually want to avoid anything that sounds like any of those, to avoid confusion and have a clear brand.

I’d also like to avoid Acorn variations, because while charming, to me it carries connotations of kid classes, which we won’t be focusing on. Also avoid Wright and Hemingway – we have plenty of those already. And I’m even hesitant about including Oak Park in the name at all, because I’m hoping we can do lots of collaboration with Berwyn / Austin / etc. artists, and that the space feels inviting to them.

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What exactly we’re planning to do — not locked down yet! But collaborative performances would be one aspect. In the short term:

– I’m looking for a shared co-working space where people can write and create together productively. This would focus, at least initially, on the ‘soft’ makerspace options, so we wouldn’t be doing heavy-duty welding and other industrial processes that create a lot of noise, dust, etc. Think laptops, pen and paper, sketchbooks, knitting and crochet — a place where you can bring your work and be in company for some hours without feeling like you need to buy a $5 cup of coffee regularly to justify taking up room. We’d keep a coffee / tea maker around, some comfy couches, tables and chairs. Art on the walls! Maybe sewing machines, but if so, those would be the loudest machines. A quiet zone and a chatting zone.

– I’m planning on a monthly open mic series starting in April, focusing on spoken word

– writing classes, of which there seems to be a surprising dearth in Oak Park, although if I’m missing any, someone tell me. I’d like to offer a coordinated schedule of writing classes (though I don’t actually want to teach them, but I’m pretty sure I can find qualified teachers) — fiction, essays, poetry, publishing workshops, etc. (This is the one area where we might offer some kid classes, because aside from M.G.’s class (which we’d ask her to just do for us), I don’t know of anyone else offering this.))

– I’m hoping to put together a periodic weekend showcase that brought together different Oak Park arts groups to perform / exhibit, a collaborative venture working with the orgs that are already here, building audience for all.

In the long-term, I’d love us to incorporate a great cafe (samosas! chai!) that also serves wine and beer in the evenings (if OP will allow), a shop selling local artist work and locally-made artisan goods, a performance space with outdoor green patio area, and a building that’s large enough that we can string fairy lights all over and rent it out for hipster weddings.

Name suggestions I’m still mulling…

I like these:
The Burrow
Catalyst
Ilanku Arts (means ‘shine’ or ‘glitter’)
Kalai (Tamil for art)
Kundalini Artspace (electric energy running up spine)
Lanka Arts (means ‘island’)
Maram (Tamil word for tree)
Taprobane Arts (comes from ‘tree with red leaves’ originally)
Treehouse Arts
Vine
The Warren

Probably no:
ArtOak
ArtSpace
Forest for the Trees
Heart of Oak Park
Muse (probably not, name of a clothing store here)
The Nest (probably not, name of a design firm here)
Oak and Ash
OP-Arts
Scene
Serendib Arts (where we get the word ‘serendipity’, but there’s a local store, Serenitea)
What’s Next? (might be name for open mic series, though)

What I’d like to connote: energy, creativity, making, a broad spectrum of art work, including writing, youth (but not kids, more 20-30-somethings). Edginess, cutting edge, contemporary. Global / world. Previously, Ben threw out words like Dabble. Cornucopia. Inhabit. Entwine. Aperture. Reimagine.

Other arts centers have names like: Juxtaposition aka Juxta, Destiny, N’Ferno, EDGE, Soar, MarbleJam, BE!, The ARTery, Silo, Zephyr. Think along those lines. Be creative. 🙂 Help!

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