We’ve been meaning to put together a review of one of the MEÆT events for a while now for both the pitchers and for Edmontonians who are curious about the event. And so, here it is!
MEÆT 2.0 (the 4th event since last summer and the immediate predecessor to MEÆT 3.0) was probably the most successful event we’ve had yet: not only was there great food and wonderful pitches, it was impressive to see the amount of cross-polination of ideas and discussions both during and after the event.
Molly Staley, Common Ground Arts Society
Jamie Courtorielle + Farron Bull, Cycling4Change (Winner)
Matt Gallivan, Poetry Workshop
Karen Lee, Random Acts of Sweetness (Expansion)
Kathryn Lennon, Popup Multicultural Tea House
Jordan Schroder, Jam Union
Group photo above, and here’s what they pitched:
Molly Staley, the Executive Director of Common Ground Arts, Andrew Ritchie, and Tori Morrison (all left photo) were first up, speaking about the Common Ground Arts Society, a non profit focusing on the advocacy, development, and promotion of emerging artists in Edmonton. They do this through interdisciplinary events (around 3 events per year), and helped found the Found Festival a (Canada Day Weekend, June 29th) and the Edmonton Show. With the money that could be won from MEAET, they were looking to use it for various artists’ costs.
Karen Lee, who has previously won some money from another MEAET event, looked to expand on her Random Acts of Sweetness project. Instead of baking sweet goodies for random people to give and eat (in hospitals, the homeless, other events), Karen was looking to put some money towards investing in a local coffee shop (instead of a Starbucks, for instance), with the idea that local investments in community-minded shops will yield returns to our community.
As she expanded on this, she talked about how the main concept of the Random Acts of Sweetness, which was to do something simple to make people happy, to spread happiness one cookie at time, and that it doesn’t have to be a big idea to change the world.
Jamie, the eventual winner of the $500 pot, spoke of his story and battle with drugs, addictions, and his recovery. It was not only touching, it was gut-wrenching at certain parts (him being kicked out of home, starting drugs out with his auntie’s introduction of him to it). In his pitch, he talked also about his gradual recovery, what he saw for the future, and how he wanted to help other troubled teens, seeing how he had emerged from the dark paths that he came from. After the presentation, he forwarded along a Prezi he had put together himself, and it’s a pretty powerful piece:
Jamie wanted the money to help him help mentor other troubled teens. In particular, he planned to cycle across Canada to help raise awareness of the problems he’s faced and how others can similarly overcome them, and he definitely made an impression with his passionate pitch.
To add to that, Jamie didn’t come alone. Farron Bull, a friend of his whom he met through iHuman (which Jamie also credits with his recovery efforts), performed a rap from his book, and started to freestyle a bit about his life. It certainly wasn’t something we had expected, but like Jamie’s pitch, this was deeply personal, touching, and told a story.
Matt Gallivan (left of images) was looking to use the funds from the pot to hold a poetry workshop at the U of A. Passionate in poetry, Matt believes that there is an opportunity to introduce a new generation to the poetry scene in Edmonton. The poetry workshop would introduce students to events in Edmonton, with a poetry workshop free to all students and potentially local community members.
Kathryn Lennon (right of images) wanted to fund the next popup multicultural tea house. Having done this twice before, the popup tea houses are tests to see if the social enterprise of a unique community space that serves tea and dialogue would work well. The goal would then be to build a tea house in a permanent location that would also provide microeconomic opportunities for food and art.
Finally, Jordan Schroder (no photo, forgot to take one) cared less about the money, and wanted to pitch to the MEAET crowd about Jam Union, a collaborative community blogging site about local content. The idea is that different artists of different genres would write about film, music, theatre, fashion, food, visual arts, community/activism. Different individuals would specialize and write about a specific genre, and this would also provide media training for the bloggers who want to blog, but don’t know how.
All in all, it was a pretty fun, packed event. Not only was the location at Hawkeye’s Too a central, convenient locale, the pizza was great too, and the attendees seemed to have a blast.
Beyond the food and the pitches, one of the best things about this particular MEAET was the many discussions that occurred after the event was declared over. Attendees chose to stay around, talk to the presenters, and the presenters also chatted up one another as well. It seemed like a lot of partnerships/collaborations were also going to come out from this MEAET, and we’re looking forward to updates on these plus more ahead!
Eugene Chen, on behalf of the MEAET Team