For those of you who might not know Brooke, she is a poet, musician, and a generous, supportive force that champions the creative work of so many. She owns and operates Likely General, a Brick and Mortar space in Toronto which has become a community far beyond the title of ‘retail store’. Likely General is a myriad of possibility in a difficult city. It is a space that sells handmade goods, an art gallery that features a new exhibition each month, an inclusive workshop space, a safe hub for launches, community talks and gatherings, and an effort to support others through countless fundraisers within our city and beyond. It is a radical disruption to the mundane and the inaccessible.
Brooke opened Likely General in July of 2013 and since then has been a pioneering voice in supporting the work of women, marginalized, and non-binary folks. She created a space to share their work, their art, and thus, their stories. Like Brooke, her business operates from a place of loving compassion. For her, it's never been about the bottom line, or making a quick buck. The monthly cost of operating a space of this nature is high, and most of Likely General’s income goes directly to the hundreds of artists it supports. It is a space where many artists have had their first shows, where many makers have sold their first creations, where many have stopped by just to chat, and where people feel comfortable and welcomed.
Likely General is a treasure and to lose a space like this would be to lose a voice in Toronto that promotes creative expression and acceptance. To support this beloved space right now is to support community, acceptance, and the notion of offering a chance to someone who might not have otherwise had one.
Small independent businesses and community spaces in our city are deeply struggling right now, and need our help. Most aren’t able to access loans and funding in order to survive closures due to COVID-19. There is great uncertainly now, for spaces like this one. Supporting Likely General through this GoFundMe in turn supports countless artists, makers and people within our community that might otherwise not have a chance to create and connect if this space is lost.
Likely General’s neighbour Laurie Leclair has generously made and donated a rainbow quilt to this fundraiser. Laurie volunteers her time to fundraise for the United Way every year and Brooke has continuously supported her through Likely since the beginning - in fact, this is how they met. Laurie knit 100 individual pieces to form this quilt. The first 100 donors of $50 or more will sponsor a square of the quilt. During the month of June, Brooke will mindfully sew this quilt together to form it’s intended rainbow, and hang the finished piece in Likely General’s window along with each sponsor name attached to each sponsored square. We will also mention every other sponsor in a list on our window. No amount is too little, everything helps, if you are able.
This is what community looks like; a beautiful rainbow, a generous gift, a continuation of warmth, comfort, and loving kindness to a space that needs our care.
With love and gratitude,
Morgan Dowler, artist
MJ Renshaw, maker
Alicia Nauta, artist and employee of Likely General
Melissa Richards, employee of Likely General
with special gratitude to Joy Gough
- Ian Humberstone
- Katharyn Rayner
- Alex Brott
- Justine Thomas
Organizer and beneficiary
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