Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: The Idea Village

The EIC is undergoing a period of strategic planning and growth. One of our tenants, M. Francis Gallery, has successfully graduated from our business incubator! The owner of M. Francis Gallery, Myesha Francis, became a tenant of the EIC as a full time art teacher. After two months at the EIC, she resigned from her teaching job to focus on her gallery space full time. Myesha led community art projects such as our community mural project, and curated 3 gallery openings in the space. In addition to obtaining affordable studio and exhibition space, we provided her with technical assistance in the areas of marketing, finance and operations. In a matter of 6 months, Myesha was able to grow her business and has opened her very own gallery on Julia Street, a focal point in the New Orleans art scene—the grand opening will take place with much fan fare on July 1st.We are so very proud of her accomplishments and are excited to see the success of our incubator model. The next question we are asking ourselves is: can this success story be duplicated?

The Entergy Innovation Center is almost one year old and we have spent the past 11 months testing various approaches for marketing our services to the community, partnering with other local non profits, offering services that can contribute to local economic development and skill building such as one-on-one computer training, business counseling, and targeted workshops on e-commerce, technology, and personal finance. But how can we leverage our core competencies to scale our impact in the community? And how do we articulate our successes and build relationships to secure future funding and ensure the sustainability of the Center? These are all important questions that we are tackling in our current period of strategic planning. There are no easy answers but the process of seeking the answers—through evaluating our past programming, having dialogue with our partner organizations and community members, researching, and brainstorming—is illuminating!

This month we launched our Summer Biz Camp, weekly programming for kids in the neighborhood that teaches them business and leadership skills by having them launch and run a business project together. We also worked with one of our wonderful partners, the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) who designed a special workshop for our staff and clients on creating marketing videos for the web. In the midst of this activity we are hard at work in planning for the EIC’s future. -Jodine Gordon, AmeriCorps VISTA

Check out our incubator graduate at www.mfrancisgallery.com

Check out the wonderful digital media and film training programs that our partner, NOVAC, has to offer: www.novacvideo.org

Finally, check out our twitter and facebook pages!  




About Tulane VISTA

Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.


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