The Welcome Project, a social enterprise that trains our newest neighbors in fabrication and art skills as well as store management, is reopening April 14th from 6-8pm with a refurbished space, a new product line, and a host of new community programming. During this opening guests can get the first glimpse of our new space, peruse the hand made goods made by refugee and immigrant women, try out Illumination, a new product exclusive to The Welcome Project, and enjoy street food from Nepal in the form of hand made Momos. Next door, Wave Pool will also have a drop-in crafting workshop by visiting artist Haydee Alonzo.
The Welcome Project has spent the past six months undergoing intensive renovations to make the space ADA compliant, add much-needed supply storage and design a better layout for both the retail and makers spaces of the storefront. University of Cincinnati's Design for America team has led the design and layout initiative, a group of Public Allies and many other volunteers have been instrumental in bringing the design to life. Funding came from proceeds raised from Welcome Dinners, sales of Welcome Edition items, and the Haile Foundation.
The re-opening event will also be the debut of a new product designed by UC Industrial Design student Amy Marks called Illumination. Illumination is a conversation centerpiece. It creates connections within a room, across the country, and around the globe. Each Illumination kit contains all the supplies needed for a storytelling activity that builds up to the creation of a multi-sensory tabletop lantern. Participants get the chance to become closer to each other and learn more about the refugee or immigrant artisan who crafted their kit. When it’s finished, the lantern becomes a time capsule which allows participants to travel back to the moments of its creation. Illumination is designed for groups of friends and family numbering anywhere between two and twenty-four people. Illumination kits will sell for $30 and all proceeds will feed back into the programming of The Welcome Project and the continued training and employment of Cincinnati’s refugee and immigrant community.