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Coworking in Providence, Rhode Island

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ANCHOR COWORKING

Located in a repurposed warehouse filled with artists, entrepreneurs and startups, Anchor Coworking is the brainchild of two alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design, one of the country’s most notable Liberal Arts schools.

Matt Grigsby and Asher Dunn have made a collaborative home in the 42 Rice Street building in downtown Providence. Dunn runs a community woodshop, which offers various workshops and classes, while Grigsby handles the other side of the building-the coworking side. "We have artist studio spaces, which are really affordable and we also have private offices," said Grigsby. "There is also another space which is 300sqft. in size with a shared conference room and that is the official Anchor coworking space."

Because Providence is on the smaller-side, Grigsby told Deskmag that Anchor tends to have more long-term tenets. "At any point in time we have around 10 people coworking, as well as other trade groups that rent small offices," said Grigsby. "We house a diverse combination of artists, marketing companies, graphic designers and webworkers, who all decide to rent here so they can be more integrated into the community."

Anchor makes the most of their diverse space by hosting a monthly community event called “Clam Bake”. “The title is a metaphor for mixing people together who come from all different kinds of professions,” explains Grigsby. “We have two presenters each month, and they give a 20 min presentation, with a Q&A session afterwards." Anchor also reaches out to the greater Providence community by catering their events with local food trucks that come on site, and drinks are provided by the city’s top-notch local brewery, Trinity.

When asked about the benefits a city like Providence could get from the coworking movement, Grigsby feels that coworking brings a vital energy to the city. “I think that people who have their own company or who have traveled to other cities with an established coworking community have experienced this energy and they want to take it with them," explains Grigsby. “I actually used to go up to Montreal to work at Station C, which was started by a couple of designers and I was inspired by their space." 

He continued by saying that "Providence is definitely moving in the direction of a better work and living environment, and that involves building community and inspiring people on a daily basis." 

DIGITAL CITY RHODE ISLAND

Digital City Rhode Island, as the name suggests, focuses on professionals working in digital media. But, in the spirit of coworking, Digital City has reached out to the greater community by hosting various workshops and monthly meetings. These get-togethers not only encourage networking, but also bring freelancers, artists and small business owners into an environment that encourages and promotes coworking.

Located in downtown Providence, DC206 has not only created it’s own community of freelancers, they are also making some important partnerships throughout the city. For example, they have partnered with Providence’s premier artist-run space, AS220, which is committed to providing artists the chance to create work while also making a sustainable living.

In addition to Digital City’s work with AS220, they have also taken a deeper look at digital media education in the state. In 2014, they published a white paper that examined the “eco-system of digital media education in Rhode Island with an emphasis on untapped synergies and gaps in professional development.”

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