If you’ve been near St. Peter’s square recently, you may have noticed a new sign in the neighborhood. Adam and Katie Quinn have been hard at work putting together their new venture, The Cornerstone Creative.
The Cornerstone Creative is a maker space and mentorship program. The power of working with your hands is something that has long inspired Adam, “I have found that woodworking or any type of hands-on collaborative work opens up unique opportunities to be challenged and experience both personal and relational growth.” Together, the Quinn’s and their partners are excited to embark on this journey to bring the community together through woodworking.
Meet the Founders:
Adam Quinn is a Gloucester native, captivated by building and fixing things from a young age. Growing up with an extremely handy father, I was introduced to the workshop and the world of tools early. He taught us the importance of safety, the proper use of each tool and how to build, fix, and responsibly maintain the things we need and love. I can confidently say that working with my hands and learning the trades has helped shape me into the person I am today. It has taught me so many valuable life skills such as patience, paying attention to the little details, problem solving and how to think creatively when things don’t go according to plan. When not pulling things apart and putting them back together, you can find him on two-wheel vehicles either in the mountains or the streets, out surfing with his wife Katie, playing music, spending time with family and friends or daydreaming about all of the Cornerstone Creative adventures ahead!
Katie hails from the shores of New Jersey, but is now a Gloucester transplant. She received a bachelor's degree at Gordon College studying social work. From there, she went on to receive her Masters in Social Work at Simmons College. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and works as a counselor at a therapeutic middle and high school on the North Shore of Boston. For as long as she can remember, Katie has always had a passion for people and the trajectory of her education, jobs and personal interests have always propelled in the direction of working closely with others. In her spare time, you can find Katie scribbling down Cornerstone Creative dreams with Adam, surfing, running outdoors, eating tacos with friends, and dreaming of all the places she wants to travel!
How long have you been working to put The Cornerstone Creative together?
We’ve been working on building The Cornerstone Creative since January 2019 when we first started putting our ideas on paper. We secured the workshop space in the spring of 2019 and have been working hard to get it ready ever since!
What inspired this new venture?
The idea of a community centered wood shop that focuses on youth mentorship has been a dream of mine (Adam) for many years, but took time before I was ready to pursue it. After I finished graduate school, I married my dream girl, Katie, who similarly has a deep passion for community and youth development. Shortly after we married, we moved overseas. In the summer of 2018, life threw us a pretty unexpected curveball and we landed back in Gloucester! During this transition, we spent time evaluating where we wanted to go and what was most important to us. Ultimately that was plugging back into the community of Cape Ann and starting a youth mentorship program utilizing wood working and hands on skill building.
What kind of programs are you going to be offering?
We will be offering three different types of programs. First, we will be offering a youth woodworking mentorship program. This program offers a unique opportunity for the youth of Cape Ann to learn the craft of woodworking while also creating meaningful relationships with peers and mentors. We believe hands on experience in the wood shop provides a platform to learn hard skills while simultaneously growing in confidence and learning how to problem solve and be mindful of details
We are also looking forward to hosting various workshops for all members of the community. This will be an opportunity for community members to learn the basics of woodworking, fine-tune a specific skill set, or create a fun, useful project to be proud of.
Lastly, we will eventually offer memberships for a community makerspace. This will allow members the opportunity to access a workspace and equipment to work on personal projects. All proceeds from memberships will directly support and further the mission of The Cornerstone Creative mentorship programs. The maker space program will launch in 2021 once we get our feet under us with the mentorship program and community classes. Stay tuned!
What are your goals with the Cornerstone Creative?
First an foremost, our goal is to create a safe space for youth to come and learn hands-on skills and to challenge themselves in ways that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives. We also hope to create a space that the entire community can utilize to learn new skills, or practice their craft, while simultaneously cultivating quality relationships!
What's been your favorite part of this process so far?
Oh great question! There have been so many great moments throughout this whole process.
Adam - I have been consistently blown away by the generosity shown to us by friends, family and total strangers. Whether it has been through tool donations, financial contributions or physically showing up to help us with the grunt work of building out the workshop, our community has continuously encouraged us to keep going even when it has been hard.
Katie - I would also have to say that it’s been the people who have shown up throughout this journey so far that have been the highlight for me! Since our shop is in such a central location, the warmer months have been really cool. There have been a handful of days where we’ll be in the shop working with the doors open and someone will stop by to introduce themselves and ask about us. It has inevitably led to some sort of encouraging conversation or connection. Creating a startup can feel pretty daunting at times, and it’s little moments like those that really make a difference.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Adam: The nature of starting a nonprofit from scratch lends itself to many unforeseen challenges! :) So far they, have all certainly made us wiser and ready to take on the inevitable challenges that lay ahead. So far, the biggest challenge for me has been refining and boiling down exactly what we want to offer. There are endless possibilities with workshop space, but we want to be wise and start slow and establish a solid foundation before get ahead of ourselves!
Katie: For me, the biggest challenge has been figuring out a way to generate sustainable revenue to get us started and eventually, keep our programs operating and healthy. Since I work full-time, and Adam, part-time, (the rest of his time is dedicated solely to Cornerstone), we have had some very late nights taking crash courses in fundraising and sustainable development for non-profits!
Who is your least favorite super hero? And why?
Batman. Not for any one particular reason, he just seems over-rated and one-dimensional. A bit of a one trick pony, if we may. Open to all counterarguments while we carve up some wood in the shop together!
Don't miss the open house at Cornerstone Creative August 8th, 3:00pm-6:00pm please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org