Inov8 is a new Salmon Arm organization created to promote the creative within the city and raise awareness of what could be within the community.
Members of the organization, including Violet Pilkey, Bob Beeson, Bernie Hucul, Kari Wilkinson, Louise Wallace, Tracey Kutschker, David Gonella and Warren Welter, made a presentation to council last week to inform them of who they are, and how a creative approach can transform the mundane – from a simple traffic or pedestrian warning sign – into something both positive and memorable.
Louise Wallace, who did the majority of the speaking, later told the Observer the presentation was, in part, an introduction to inov8, which she describes as an organization similar to the chamber or SCIP (Shuswap Construction Industry Professionals), only with the focus being on the city’s creative professionals.
“We intend to talk to other groups and we intend to promote the creative sector in Salmon Arm as much as possible because we see it as a huge opportunity for young people who want to work in creative fields,” says Wallace.
Another catalyst behind inov8, Wallace admits, was Salmon Arm council’s decision in February to hire a Kansas firm to redesign the city’s website. This drew immediate criticism from Salmon Arm’s creative industry, as well as some forms of protest including “cash mobs” that made a point of supporting local businesses. While Wallace knows council got the message, she says the city’s creative sector maybe didn’t do a good job of stating who they are and what they can do.
“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson,” says Wallace.
Following inov8s presentation, Coun. Chad Eliason made mention of the city considering, down the road, a communications manager. Wallace says this is close to what inov8 considers a worthwhile goal, the establishment of a city chief creative officer.
“That would send an important message and be a valuable addition to the leadership role the city plays as well as an innovative approach to meeting its obligations and our expectations of it in building community,” says Wallace.
One point Wallace stressed is that inov8 is not just about promotion of the creative sector, but of the city.
“So every opportunity we have to show uniqueness and creativity as a community, the more people it will attract. And the more people we’ll employ, and the better we’ll all do. That’s the cooperative nature of it.”