Our Open Hand Studio hosted their fifth annual Meet & Match event in our brand new Boston office last week. With the Boston Society of Architects Foundation as our partners, we opened our doors to our new neighborhood and hosted a night of celebrating community-based design in Boston. The event was a wonderful success, bringing over 70 designers and community group leaders together for a one-of-a-kind opportunity: to share public interest design project ideas and meet with potential new partners in order to realize those concepts. I feel very thankful we were able to connect with and contribute to our Boston community in this way!
Attendees heard from two kickoff speakers: Mike Davis from the Boston Society of Architects and Rashmi Ramaswamy from SHED Studio. Rashmi had an amazing story to share about her connection back to the first ever Meet & Match held in Chicago of 2010 with Open Hand founders Ashley Marsh and John Syvertsen.
The evening was focused on creating networks between non-profits with design needs and designers who provide pro-bono or reduced fee services. Through color-coded stickers, festive balloons, and “pre-match matrices,” attendees could make connections that fit their needs or matched with the services they could provide. Many successful connections were made – since the event we have received numerous notes of thanks and news of fruitful contacts which we hope will yield positive change in our community. At one point in the evening we also heard an inspiring Boston success story by Gretchen Schneider from the Community Design Resource Center. She spoke about the Woolson Street Community Garden project, which brought a neighborhood with a history of tragic violence together to transform a vacant lot into a highly utilized community park. This project helped to revitalize an underserved neighborhood by creating a safe space for residents to reflect, heal, and enjoy – giving poignant meaning to “pro-bono” (def: for the public good) design!
There was a solid showing of CannonDesigners at the Meet & Match —many of whom were instrumental in making the event a success. Special thanks to the wonderful volunteers/coordinators from the Boston office (Jeneile, Laura, Jayn, Aimee, Christine, Anne, John, Lynne, Carlos, Timothy, Tiera, Andy, Brian, Amanda, and Chad), to our out of towners/leadership support (Danielle, Greg, Chris, Jamie, Paul and Kevin), and a big shout-out to Tom, who provided us with masterful graphic design style. Other members from the Boston design community in attendance included Increment Studio, ARC, Bergmeyer, Perkins + Will, COG Design, APP/Lab, and the Boston Design Museum, and members of community organizations included FamilyAid Boston, Three Squares New England, Livable Streets, Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, the Public Conversations Project, the Cambridge Historical Society, and many more.
Open Hand Studio Meet & Match events have established a proven model for bringing design professionals and community group leaders together through an inviting and fun environment. We were so thankful that we were able to be catalysts for positive community change through this year’s Meet & Match!