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A mobile studio for community design.
A mobile studio for community design.
78 backers pledged $9,198 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$9,198

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As Rochester, MN continues to grow, and we endeavor to increase the diversity of attractions and support of arts and culture, there is an ever-increasing need to get people involved in making change happen.  Cities are complex environments teeming with latent potential and sometimes all that is required is a little spark and a vision to make people excited and explode into action.

have pen, will travel.
have pen, will travel.

Charette Happens is a mobile design studio that seeks out opportunities to bring people together in a collaborative design process.  Design requires putting people first and responding to human needs.  A charette is rapid collaboration--intended to be equally fun, hectic and exciting.  It brings people together and gets them talking, sketching, brainstorming, ideating, and contemplating.  While it doesn't have the music of an ice cream truck, when Charette Happens shows up I envision the public eager to hang out and spend a day participating in the design process, or just hanging out to enjoy the activity.  Time constraints are imposed to limit the analyzing of ideas and censoring of concepts; it is about free-associative design.  Ideas can be provocative, unusual, or fantastical, and every idea has merit.  The charette is a transparent design process that spawns creative endeavors.  And at the end of the day, the images that are produced are simply given to the people who requested them--true democracy in action.

With the aid of Charette Happens, these small scale attempts to transform the built environment are made manifest in projects such as pocket parks, "complete streets" designs, parklets, pop-up cafes, guerrilla gardening, free libraries, etc.  They aim to create an architecture of place through a neighborhood or community event.  I strongly believe that it embodies the spirit of the lighter, quicker, cheaper movement: rapid prototyping of creative ideas.  Charette Happens is a metaphorical (and literal) vehicle to translate these ideas into visual illustrations. They provide a vision of a future that people can believe in, be inspired by, and work toward.

Risks and challenges

Once this project is funded, there will be two distinct challenges. The first is creating the mobile design studio. There is a 14' box truck that would be perfect, but that is only a shell. After purchasing that truck, it needs to be outfitted inside with the materials and tools necessary to perform multiple design charettes. There will need to be a heat source and some power accommodations and there are several design challenges incorporated in that. Then there is all of the street furniture that should be compact and portable allowing for quick set up on design day, but then also easy to store back inside the truck. On the exterior we will need to place large graphics to identify Charette Happens and any pledge providers names.

The second distinct challenge is sparking the momentum for performing these impromptu charettes. One way to do that is to have pledge providers assist in the requests and direction of where to start. This ensures some interest and stewardship. In the absence of this, we will have to begin proactive, unsolicited, pro bono design services. The key to this will be picking the obvious design challenges that many people agree are problematic. We have to get the word out and publicize when and where the Charette Happens truck will appear. Because of this challenge, YOU are the greatest advocate for Charette Happens. YOU can make sure that it is successful. And YOU will be the greatest beneficiary of Charette Happens making a difference in our community.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Founding Father (or Mother (or Child)) --

    Have your John Hancock adorn the side of the truck! We will turn your signature into a custom decal and place it prominently.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Government Handout --

    You will be sent a custom keychain with the Charette Happens logo on it.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Member of Congress --

    Have you always wanted to have a say in the democratic process but don't feel like you could win the popularity contest? Now you can be a voice in where Charette Happens goes and what design problems it takes on. Donate $50 and you can vote for where you think the truck should go in Rochester. Buy multiple or combine with friends to have more sway.

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    Limited 17 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Cabinet Member --

    Consider this the inner sanctum of Charette Happens. Thanks to your generous pledge, you will not only have a vote in deciding where it goes, but you will be consulted on on everything from the design of the truck itself, be notified directly when it is on the move, and receive monthly reports on projects completed.

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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Oval Office -- Through the Rose Garden, past the Secret Service, and busting through the doors you enter the epicenter of government. Inside you will be treated to 2 full hours of chair massage (provided by Healing Touch Spa) for your customers or your employees when Charette Happens comes to your door. Who doesn't want a 2-hour break from work participating in some creative brainstorming? Now with massage!

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    Limited 1 backer
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Grand Poobah --

    Move over Frank Sinatra, you are the new "chairman of the board." You get a all of the previous rewards plus you have your name or business prominently displayed in large graphics along the truck. It is the ultimate in sponsorship.

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    Limited 3 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)