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Meet Ose Schwab of Malden Creates in North Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ose Schwab.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After years working in healthcare, high tech, with a good dose of Non-profit experience, I returned to a place of focus I never really left – the arts. For in all my endeavors, artistry was there – in my appreciation for aesthetics, love of balance and design, appreciation for the creative spirit, love of stories, and more. Most recently, working as a coach and leader in the emerging field of ADHD Coaching, I realized the importance of creativity as an energizing and strategic tool for individual and group development.

As I become more involved in my own community through my son and mother, I met exceptionally talented musicians, artists, performers, producers. Many of these individuals/groups had little opportunity to create locally. Some did not know anyone in the community. They had never engaged. I reflected what would happen if these same people were invited to create locally.

This question intrigued me enough to shift my professional focus from coaching to a step (tentative at first) into arts advocacy and coordination. I began to volunteer with local arts groups and initiatives. I started researching best practices, arts and community trends. I started a humanity and arts blog called Artful Webs, where I shared my findings and reflections on what brings art to life and life to arts.

I became a citizen journalist through a local media station program, Neighborhood View. I started a video, podcast talk show called Inside Malden: Ideas and Stories that Inspire. This program allowed me access to local change makers. It gave me some publicity and a better understanding for what could enhance my city and the role I could play in that process.

As someone who naturally hunts for and discovers artistic, cultural, and humanitarian treasure, I naturally wanted to connect that treasure to others in ways that have impact and meaning – and pay. I also realized that I was entrepreneurial in a sense. I create opportunities that meet a need.

Malden Creates, LLC emerged from this experience as host and producer of a talk show, from the inspiration and best practices I discovered by the work I did with the blog Artful Webs, and by the seeming cry for instigators of art opportunities in my city. After a grant funded project to combine art, music, and multimedia I took the plunge and formed an LLC.

Since November of 2016, Malden Creates has initiated or participated in several innovative and well-received initiatives that earned artists money, produced new connections, and gave the community a memorable and meaningful experience.

The step into arts advocacy and coordination was more accurately, a step toward helping humanity. By helping artists create their work locally, I also help my community draw together and connect through the arts. As it turns out, because my community is so diverse, my work reaches the world and back. What thrills me the most is to know that artists like Anna Thai, a Vietnamese refugee who is an amazing embroidery artist has discovered a market for her art, she is teaching others, and is on a path to making a living through her art.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road to being attuned with self, opportunities, and money is very rocky – still today. And that struggle connects me in a compassionate way with others. It is perhaps an important element of impact – that we are all human struggling to make sense of how we fit into this crazy world.

When it comes to the events I initiate, the biggest struggles are about confidence. In some cases, I am the only one who really knows the impact of an event until it happens. So I must walk with the secret of what is possible until the day of. Then people understand what I was thinking. This happened in the case of Pictures at an Exhibition: A Tribute to Friendships. This concert/exhibit was very complex, involving various artistic players and elements. It was difficult to explain that a piece of music composed by Modest Mussorgsky could inspire artists from various cultures to create something visual in response to that music. It was hard to explain that the spirit of this music was about giving tribute to a friend in a creative way. And that though not all of us are visual artists or musicians, we can be creative in the way we give tribute to those we love. There were many other emergent elements of that project as well. For example the way the visual creations could inform the understanding of the music; the role music plays in changing the brain and its capacity to create; the cross-cultural nature of music; and the healing power of music as exemplified in one artist from Libya who responded to the Russian music with gripping and even disturbing pieces capturing the humanitarian crisis of a home country experiencing internal conflict.

Having such a complex project that few understood in totality be so successful gave me and others confidence. Many know that though they may not completely understand what I imagine, they know it will be beyond their expectations and that they can fulfill their particular role for the process. And that process will be full of humor, generosity, and kindness so that even if they cannot imagine the final outcome it is OK. They can rest in the process.

There is also the struggle to monetize what feels like a service to people. Can a business be about the bottom line and about helping others? How does one balance those two drivers? How to find the right business/organization structure that supports both? How does one find and create the markets for artists? How does one become streamlined with effective processes and technology and yet maintain a flexible organic infrastructure that considers humanity front and center?

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Malden Creates, LLC – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Malden Creates, LLC is a local business that instigates arts and culture opportunities for the city of Malden. Locally driven, it is also global. It is global because Malden is diverse. It is also global because it draws and operates on universal principles that can be applied anywhere.

Malden Creates specializes in initiating events/projects that draw on local talent, utilizes local spaces, and provides high quality arts-filled experiences for those living in, working in, or visiting Malden.

As founder, I am known for kindness, out of the box thinking, for crazy multi-layered and complex projects, and for being very conceptual.

I am most proud of the impact I have on individuals who feel believed in, empowered, hopeful, and nourished by new and exciting experiences and by the gesture of giving.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love Malden for its various ethnic roots over the years. Currently in a building boom, the possibilities of building a welcoming vibrant city are exciting.

The people of Malden are unpretentious and often welcoming. Malden is close to Boston, with ample transportation. Many in Malden want to do good and care about the community in real ways – building a bike path, a community garden, starting an arts organization, and more.

What is frustrating about the city is common in many other cities: not enough coordination and connection between groups and individuals. Not enough communication about what is happening or what is available keeps people from plugging. And there are not enough proactive measures to invite residents into the process of city development – though that is getting better.

Unfortunately, Malden has little green space/open space. We have a river that is very polluted and will take quite a bit of resources and money to clean up adequately.

Historically, not a lot of investment in the arts and culture sector (creative economy) have been made though city leaders appreciate the arts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos Courtesy of Paul Hammersley, Fritz Bosch, Julia Swerdlov

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