Megan and I were irritated.

We looked around at all the twenty- and thirty-somethings in this hip town of Durham, North Carolina (with one of the better job markets in the country!) and were angry that most of us could not find fulfilling work. We weren’t looking for perfection — just a position that we could actually acquire without knowing the employer personally and resorting to bribing them with cake. And if we could also feel productive and appreciated, all the better.

It didn’t seem like too much to ask, but so many of us were finding that application after application, we were failing to secure satisfactory employment. Unfortunately, being upset about something doesn’t solve anything, so we decided to fight back and one year ago we launched Mercury Studio.

Mercury Studio’s number one goal is to help anyone and everyone make a living doing what they love. How? That’s a great question and also, the fun part. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far:

1. Coworking.

It’s amazing how much confidence, focus, and determination can be gained by simply having a place designated for your work. Add a community of people who care to see you succeed, and coworking is the best thing for the independent professional since coffee was discovered. We have a cafe space, desk carrels, and an art studio–and it’s all available to our members 24 hours a day.

2. Events.

This is a big one. We know that a coworking membership doesn’t make sense for everyone, so monthly events are another way we’ve found to create and support a greater community. Here are some examples of the monthly events we host:

At groundworkk (yes, with two "k's"), local, creative, community-minded projects can earn some cash and community support.

At our Art Salons, local artists gather to present their current work and receive earnest and specific feedback from other artists, patrons, and curators.

At each Listening Room, we bring in local songwriters for an evening of music and conversation. The artists play one set of original music for a rapt crowd and then have the opportunity to talk about their craft and process as well as take questions from the audience; it's a unique and intimate event.

These are all just examples of what planned events happen here on a regular basis. Then, there are the immeasurable things: the relationships, the networking, the support, the inspiration. We believe even more in the necessity for places like Mercury Studio to exist than we did a year ago and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

How can you join the movement?

  • Find a space in your community that is trying to promote community and creativity and support them!

  • No such place? Start one! We’d be happy to talk more with anyone about how to do this.

  • Support Mercury Studio! We were able to open our doors only with the support of like-minded people. We ran an IndieGoGo campaign to raise startup funds and after a year, we’re doing it again so that we can update our space and do even more! Visit our campaign here!

Thanks for reading and remember, if you see something that bothers you, take steps to make it better. You never know what could happen.

[post by Katie DeConto]

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