The Joys of Cooperative Living
“Consider this a large home with a large family. We are all different, may not always get along, but in times of crisis we’ll have each others’ backs.” – Kerry-Lee Collings
Those were the first words said to me by a wise member when I first moved into the housing cooperative where I still reside.
I live in the Artspace Cooperative, on Ewen Nelson Way, named after a former member/advocate. This year (2015) marks our 25th anniversary! And we have reason to celebrate! This is one of the most innovative dwellings in which I have ever resided. Unlike a building where you may not know your neighbours or how your home is run, here it is the opposite and everybody has a say.
It was first developed by a group of artists that wanted all inclusive housing for Edmontonians of every ability. Members are encouraged and accepted to participate in the day to day running of the complex which includes various committees from maintenance to finance, from bylaw to social. Being inclusive means board members are voted into various positions by their neighbours.
With the variety of ways members can assist nobody is left out. We recognize diverse strengths and encourage all participation.
You really get to know the people you live with by participating. I find everyone has a purpose and it is exciting getting to know and bond with your neighbours.
Our oldest member is thriving in her 90s and our newest member was born November 30! An Artspace baby! Now that is diversity! Generations residing all in unity!
As life goes on, we have to say farewell to certain members but embrace new ones. Sadly my wise friend Kerry left us but what she installed in me still remains. There is no “I” in co-op, no “I” in Artspace. Let’s embrace inclusion! Visit the website a talented member created at: www.members.shaw.ca/artspacehousing
A term I hear often here that I can relate to is “ARTSPACE PROUD!”