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Photo: 70B Beech/Freewheeling Craft.

70B Beech: An artist hub to connect Ottawa

By Jamie MacPherson on March 23, 2022

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Finding the right fit takes time. After looking at many locations, Amanda Cockburn, founder of Freewheeling Craft, an organization bringing new and established artisans together, finally found a dream space to connect Ottawa artists. A long time in the making, but nonetheless worth the wait, 70B Beech officially opens this April.

Photo: 70B Beech/Freewheeling Craft.

“I have always been a connector,” Cockburn says, “and have always dreamed of having my own space that could bring people together. After falling into a bit of a virtual business rut over the past two years, it was a conversation with one of our favourite local makers in June 2021 that re-activated my creative spark. I really attribute it to her to get me out of that rut and dreaming about in-person again.”

Photo: 70B Beech/Freewheeling Craft.

Awaiting aspiring entrepreneurs at 70B Beech is a turnkey, flexible, warm home. Pop-ups, markets, gatherings, photoshoots, meetings, and artists will have everything they need to connect with the 613.

As an events professional, Cockburn knows “how hard it can be and how expensive it can be! When people rent the space I want it to be easy.” Cockburn used her extensive event experience to design the interior meticulously.

Bright, welcoming, centrally located, with ample parking, Cockburn’s thinking big new possibilities. “The thing I love about in-person conversation,” Cockburn says, “and what’s been missing the past two years, is that you never know which conversation will spark something in you. Your next big thing could happen at any moment.” 70B Beech’s the perfect space for artists to grow and shine.

Photo: Marianne Rothbauer.

Since they got the keys in November 2021, Cockburn and her team have worked tirelessly for our vast artist community. The space is set. So too are its first events. Programming begins in April with an Easter Pop-up from April 8–16th. May brings a Mother’s Day spring pop-up (May 5–8), weekly creative entrepreneur meetups and maker socials (May 10–20), a series of daily prompts, workshops, movement and wellness events, panel discussions, and networking and reconnecting with the community. “We are also hosting a local wellness and events professional, @sherimuse [who] is hosting the Holy Shift Party on April 23,” Cockburn says.

There are more ways Ottawa can get involved and engage with local creative culture. In May, events are planned “for local entrepreneurs to get back in balance as they shift back into the busy season,” says Cockburn. “We are also working with the local BIA to bring a weekly farmers-style market in the neighbourhood, [and] on a series of creative workshops + night pop-ups.”

Photo: 70B Beech/Freewheeling Craft.

Cockburn can’t wait to “invite people in that I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic to see the space, seeing what they want to do in the space—giving them time to brainstorm.” At the same time, she wants Ottawa to know that your ideas can turn into new realities for our city with drive and determination. “I want people to know that anything is possible. Everything I have done has started with an idea in my head… that turned into a doodle + Excel spreadsheet… then lots of hustle to turn it into reality.”

“Now that we are coming out of two years of mostly virtual business, we are re-activating our connections and starting to dream big,” Cockburn says. Now’s the perfect time to chase those dreams, and 70B Beech is the perfect place to start.

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