Creating a Space for the Creative Class

submission by offthesaw
Creating a Space for the Creative Class

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Off The Saw

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Off The Saw creates community around furniture making by offering bench space, workshops, maker talks, and apprenticeships to furniture makers in Los Angeles.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Los Angeles is home to thousands of craft furniture makers that lack access to tools, resources, and educational opportunities to grow their businesses. These furniture makers grapple with questions about how to best design and build a product and get it to market. Off The Saw will create a year-long series of discussions to examine how craftsmanship can survive and thrive in our city and to create a toolkit for building LA's creative economy.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


Leading thinkers develop a #toolkit to keep crafts in the city and build LA's #creative #economy.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valey

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

Off The Saw is located in Downtown Los Angeles and we serve a population throughout LA County.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):


Develop a model and curriculum that can be scaled and used in other shops throughout LA, California, and the US.

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics? (check all that apply)

Employment in the creative industries

Arts establishments per capita

Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA

Federal research grant funding

Patents per capita

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned firms

Gini coefficient

Number of high growth startups

Venture capital investment

Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)

Recruiting and retention rates for local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.


Los Angeles is the creative capital of the state and the nation. More than 44% of all creative workers in California are located in our city and they contribute $80 billion to our economy directly. Creative occupations often require high levels of education and skills training in a particular discipline; in the case of craft furniture making, the occupation also requires the skill to run and grow a business. The furniture & decorative arts sector is expected to grow 11.5% over the next five years, but we need to give business owners in the craft furniture field the tools that they need to achieve this growth.

We propose to convene leading thinkers in the field for in-depth discussions about the obstacles to craft furniture making and ways to overcome them. Based on these conversations, we will create a small business toolkit for furniture makers. We will draw on experts from furniture production, product design, gallery sales, private collections, marketing, branding, business management, and the media. We will seek input from our community on topics of conversation, but initial ideas include product development, business management, media relations, social media, marketing strategies, client growth and management, sales strategies, and the role of craft in the 21st century. The thoughts and ideas that come out of these conversations will be accessible to our community through white papers, podcasts, and business support resources.

Our secondary goals are to:
1) Improve and expand workshop offerings for professional furniture makers and the general public to empower the community to create and to elevate the craft of furniture making.
2) Formalize and expand our pilot apprenticeship program to provide training and job placement in order to attract and retain creative talent.

Achieving these goals will empower individual makers with knowledge and resources, support the creative industry’s infrastructure, and ensure the sustainability and economic power of the crafts in Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


1) Survey the community to identify needs.
2) Based on survey results, form a committee to direct the work.
3) Seek regular input from the committee.
4) Use survey tools before and after each event.
5) Track number of downloads of the business toolkit.
6) Track press hits and share results with our community.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

12 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Off The Saw is preserving an important American art form. Its worth cannot be measured in dollars. But $100,000 would certainly be one step in the right direction.

by Mralex
5 months ago

Off The Saw is beautiful and for everyone. I hope it grows and grows!

by corrinb13
5 months ago

These spaces are needed all over LA. Hope this wins!

by stephanielandregan
5 months ago

fantastic endeavor! LA needs this!

by wmaruyama
6 months ago

I've known Laura for many years and watched her passion for teaching and craft blossom from a hobby to a source of connection with others in LA onto her own workshop and forum for teaching others about the wonders of woodworking!

-- Adam Mefford

by adam.mefford
6 months ago

Go laura go!

by gzahrah
6 months ago

Thank you so much for your comment, your support, and your vote!

by offthesaw
5 months ago

Thanks, Corrin! LA2050 would be a huge win for Off The Saw and for furniture makers everywhere. Your support really helps.

by offthesaw
5 months ago

Stephanie, thanks so much for your support. We hope we win too!

by offthesaw
5 months ago

Thank you so much for your support. I sincerely hope to be able to offer this speaker series and business toolkit to furniture makers in LA and beyond. Here's to hoping that LA2050 will come through for us and for the creative economy!

by offthesaw
6 months ago

Thanks so much for the support, Adam. The LA2050 grant would certainly help Off The Saw to make LA a better place for craft furniture makers.

by offthesaw
6 months ago

Thanks, Grace. I'm happy to see that we have an early lead in voting, and I very much hope that we get the grant to make Los Angeles a better place to create. Your vote helps!

by offthesaw
6 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015