By Janine Saunders, October 21st, 2010

WBPLabs has partnered up with 3rd Ward for our latest series, Inside Design (to be released). 3rd Ward is a member-based art and design center for creative professionals in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Workbook Project is a big fan of 3rd Ward as it’s an innovative business space that is fueling the creative community.

As part of our partnership, 3rd Ward has offered Workbook Project readers an exclusive membership promotion. Unlimited Membership offers access to resources that would otherwise be too costly for many artists and designers: a wood/metal shop, a media lab, photo studios, jewelry studio, private & collaborative workspace, and over 100 education classes — all under one roof. Please take advantage of this generous offer and also spread the word. Share this promo code with your friends, family and colleagues. And if you don’t plan on becoming a member, do yourself a favor and check out the website for upcoming events and monthly classes.

Exclusive Offer:
Workbook Project readers who sign up for Unlimited Membership get their first month FREE (a $359 value). Schedule a tour and claim your free month today at: http://www.3rdward.com/takeatour/wp
PROMO CODE: OPENCREATE

I spoke with Jessica Tom, 3rd Ward’s Marketing Director, about 3rd Ward, how it’s facilitating the emerging creative class, and what’s to come.

What is the main concept and intention of 3rd Ward?

Give creative people the resources they need so they can take risks and make things the world has never seen. When you don’t have to worry about space, tools, knowledge, etc… the world is at your fingertips. Without physical limitations, you can realize your creative potential and more.

How is this concept of community / shared workspace and artist development facilitating the local creative community?

It is low-cost, high-inspiration. Don’t know how to use After Effects? Take a class. Need to shoot your new jewelry line? Book a photo studio. Need some legs for your table? Ask your new friend in the metal shop. By sharing tools, knowledge and space, creative people can seamlessly cross media boundaries, learn faster and grow stronger. More and more creative people are moving to freelance. 3rd Ward gives them structure and endless possibilities to create and collaborate.

How has 3rd Ward been able to sustain and grow into a thriving business?

We’ve been able to grow by listening to our members. We’d just be a building with some expensive stuff inside were it not for our people. They are very vocal about what works for them, and we respond in kind. Ultimately, what’s best for their businesses — whether we’re talking about out photographers, set designers, fabricators, hackers, or whatever — is best for our business. We succeed as a creative workspace if they succeed as creators.

We’ve grown by offering the best possible experience to our members — through our comprehensive facilities and classes, but also by creating a truly warm and supportive environment. Together, that creates pretty fertile ground for pretty amazing work!

What’s the future of 3rd Ward? What’s the future of creative workspaces?

We’re building out our 2nd floor to include a bigger wood shop, more photo studios, and more learning spaces. We’re also developing a “3rd Ward Member-Made” brand of furniture that we’d like to sell at stores across the country (if you’re a buyer, contact us!).

The creative workspaces of tomorrow will likely have some aspect of sharing. There’s less waste, less money spent, and more opportunities for collaboration. Also, being successful now depends on how well you’re able to draw upon different disciplines. People wear more hats now because budgets are tight and companies must do more with less. Knowing how to use Photoshop is like knowing how to use scissors and glue. Everyone needs to be a marketer. If you’re a set designer, you might do some 3D modeling, but you’re much more marketable who if you can build the set, choreograph, film, edit, and write the copy on the fliers!

3rd Ward is a pretty unique place and there’s no where in the world quite like it. It’d be interesting to see more place like us. They’d be competition, but I believe a rising tide raises all ships.

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Janine Saunders is a producer, media collaborator, and DJ living in NYC.  She has worked as a producer since a very early age, in music, video and publishing. She has worked closely with writer/ documentarian/ graphic novelist Douglas Rushkoff, and directed and edited Life Inc: The Movie.

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