Where to begin on this one. This project has been in development for almost a year now already but it is finally starting to take real shape! And so, I’m excited today to announce an anticipated Q4 2023 launch for The Creative Mecca!
You may ask, what is The Creative Mecca? To answer – I refer to, copy, and paste from what I already typed up for the website’s homepage…
Put simply, TheCreativeMecca.com is an online directory of creative people and projects based in the city of Reading, PA. In order to have a profile in this directory, you must have a Reading, PA zip code. The hope in building this platform is to inspire creatives within our city to pursue their passion projects and to connect them with other likeminded individuals. Our hope is to also create a centralized place where supporters of the arts can share, engage with, and possibly even fund local creative projects that resonate with them!Homepage of TheCreativeMecca.com
But where did all of this begin? Why am I creating this website? Again I refer to, copy, and paste from what I already typed up for the website’s homepage – strangely in the third person…
The concept for The Creative Mecca popped into existence one day when local entrepreneur and creative, Jon Jordan, was driving across the Penn Street bridge into the city of Reading, PA. It was a drive he frequently took, and every time he did, he noted the digital sign welcoming him and fellow commuters. What really caught his eye about the sign, however, was the tagline that was given to the city. “Welcome to Reading – The City of Positive Change” the sign read. He always hated that tagline.
It’s impossible to ignore that the city of Reading – like so many other cities – has its share of issues including poverty, crime, and deteriorating industry. However Philadelphia, a closely neighboring and similarly troubled city, is affectionately tagged “The City of Brotherly Love”. Why then is the city of Reading tagged with such a falsely positive sentiment? Why, instead of promoting all the good in the city, does our tagline describe a gradual escape from despair? Being critical is easy though. Finding alternatives can be difficult. If not “The City of Positive Change”, then what?
Perhaps an emphasis on local sports. The city of Reading is home to a multitude of professional minor league sports teams – such as the Reading Royals and the Reading Fightin Phils. Or perhaps a focus on the various academic institutions in and around the city – such as Albright College, Alvernia University, and RACC. While these are great things that the city has to offer visitors, what about the people who actually live here in the community? How can a city of “local sports” or “continued education” compare with something as abstract and profound as a city of “brotherly love”? The tagline for the city has to be universal – something inclusive and inspiring.
In November of 2018, a special showcase event called Reading Rising 2.0 took place at RACC’s Miller Center for the Arts – spotlighting success stories throughout the city. The event featured demonstrations by local poets, dance groups, and public speakers. It also spotlighted an array of new businesses launching in the community and the unique products and services they offered. The sheer creativity on display from the community was absolutely inclusive AND inspiring. Naturally, the wheels started turning. What if the city of Reading could expand on its existing creativity and become an epicenter for creative people and businesses alike? What if we could lift our community by focusing this creativity that unites us all?
Since then, this simple rebranding idea for the city has evolved and taken digital form as TheCreativeMecca.com – an open directory of creative people and projects based in the city of Reading, PA. Once officially launched, TheCreativeMecca.com will be a one-stop-shop for discovering and promoting local creativity – all while helping a variety of local causes as we go!Homepage of TheCreativeMecca.com
I’m actually really excited to finally launch this project later this year. I’ve made a handful of connections over the past year or so that I think will be really instrumental in getting The Creative Mecca off the ground at launch and I genuinely believe it has the potential to grow into something really cool and impactful for the city of Reading, PA.
I admit, the design and branding of the site looks mediocre right now. I’m currently nailing down the site’s core functionality. After it works the way I want it to, I’ll be diving into making it look beautiful and user friendly on both the front and back end. Stay tuned at TheCreativeMecca.com!