At last month’s Creative Conversations in Jamaica, Queens, hosted at The Harvest Room, we were joined by Brendez Wineglass, Project Manager at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. Since last year Brendez has participated in the development of several of QCA’s public programs. In this meeting she introduced the community to the concept of co-working and solicited their feedback on what an ideal co-working space might look. Here Brendez shares with us some of what’s happening with the development of new co-working spaces in Jamaica.
Can you tell me a little about the co-working space that is about to open in Jamaica?
The first co-working space in Jamaica, Queens, is on it's way and is targeted to open as early as 2019. As a part of the $10MM revitalization initiative that was awarded to downtown, Jamaica can expect to see a new, state-of-the-art facility. This space will be designed with the intent of offering work space and business opportunities to the many independent contractors, small businesses, non-profits, and those interested in working in a new entrepreneurial culture.
Our hope is practical peacemaking that will support the needs of the present businesses and a growing residential community. The project is being managed by our community development company, The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, who has been entrusted with the facilitation of the development process.
Why do you think it is important to include artists in the planning process for the development of the co-working space?
I think it is important to include artists in the planning process because many artists who reside in Jamaica are contractors with many professional skill sets that they may use to make a living more-so than their art. In addition, the creative community adds to the conversations that we’ve been having around intuitive design and innovation. Their insight lends to more comprehensive design concepts and the potential uses of the space.
How do you hope that the new co-working space will impact the community?
My hope is that the birth of Jamaica’s first co-working space will be a seed of opportunity for more co-working spaces to emerge and create a canvas of work cultures that satisfy professionals of all industries and ages. This new business work model promotes healthy, multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural conversations that typically don't occur in siloed office buildings and within the present Jamaica ecosystem. I hope that it will attract long-standing residents to consider working in Jamaica and will welcome new residents to explore all of the opportunities that Jamaica has to offer.