By Barney Blakeney
The Charleston Rhizome Collective’s ConNECKtedTOO work is continuing through two of its latest initiatives – the December launching of the conNECKtedTOO/TINYisPOWERFUL mobile app and revitalized website and a temporary conNECKtedTOO Community Lab at 2023 Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston. The Rhizome Collective is an inter-generational grassroots collaboration of artists, social activists, educators and community partners focusing on art and culture in the community for economic development. Its mission is to use innovative visual art to reveal, promote and facilitate the dynamics of communities.
Made possible through a grant from ArtPlace America and used to provide an assortment of initiatives that continue the collective’s unique artisan partnership’s the mobile app allows participants in the conNECKtedTOO/TINYisPOWERFUL small business project to create a digital presence for their businesses.
Available in Apple and Google Play stores, the app allows TINYBUSINESS partners to share photos, stories, specials and announcements where potential customers and supporters will see them. The conNECKtedTOO/TINYisPOWERFUL mobile app will be available for download in the app stores, but for now can be accessed through your web browser at TINYisPOWERFUL.com.
The app presents the development of a participative online platform seen as a ‘community lab’ that encourages artists, activists, young people and business owners to exchange stories and form supportive networks. At the moment, 28 local businesses will have their own profiles with a variety of content ranging from personal narratives and links to each business’ social media.
The temporary conNECKtedTOO Community Lab a 2023 Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston has created a physical location where everything that has been researched and done over the past two-and-one-half years is presented. It is where the TINYBUSINESS narrative is visible and accessible: tons of notes, amplified voices and conversations, posters, art tools, a TINY library, films, maps and representations of many closed and remaining TINY businesses are on display.
The Community Lab also is marking the transformation of conNECKtedTOO as a project of Art & Culture In/With Community for Economic Development into a TINY business in its own right, for profit and/or not for profit. And if appropriate, the community is encouraged to conduct meetings there.
Gwylene Gallimard, a principle in the collective, said the community lab is a temporary opportunity to present a physical alternative to online presentations. Located in one of the city’s more challenged neighborhoods, it also demonstrates that the collective is a part of the struggle the collaboration champions. More importantly, it represents that the collective still is developing, she said.
The community lab is open Tue.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. through February 23. It will be open by appointment through the end of March.