Here at Rochester Brainery, we’re driven by several passions, but most importantly we’re motivated by our desire to connect with the community while promoting learning initiatives at the same time. However, we’re even more excited when we see this passion for community and quest for knowledge begin to spread and take shape in other cities like Buffalo, NY.
Enter Karlie Beil and Meagan Walker, two Buffalo locals who met while working in the advertising world. Aside from their obsession with documentary films, they’re even more passionate about the opportunity to find more ways to learn and meet new people in their own community. This common interest is what led them to create the idea for Brainbar, a learning collective coming soon to Buffalo, NY! (Fun Fact: Brainbar will be the first learning collective native to Buffalo!). So what exactly is Brainbar and how does it work? We chatted with the brains behind the operation, Karlie and Meagan, to find out more!
For starters, tell us a little bit about Brainbar. What is it?
Brainbar is a place where the community can come together to learn something new—whether it's knowledge of something obscure or a hands-on skill—from someone different. We'll hold classes taught by people in the community, to people in the community, leveraging skill sets that are totally unique to the Buffalo area. Teachers are compensated for their time with credit to take classes or a cut of the ticket sales. After-class time is also a great chance for class-goers to meet new people with interests similar to their own over a beer, a glass of wine, or coffee.
How does it work?
We’ll post all classes on our website, which is currently being built out, so people can pick what ones they’d like to go to, a la carte style. All of the tickets will be available for purchase ahead of time right on our website.
Tell us more about the “bar” in Brainbar! Is it really a bar too?
Yep! We’ll offer beer and wine during each class, along with coffee and tea and possibly some bottled sodas too.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves! How did the idea for Brainbar originate?
We both work in advertising, Meagan is a copywriter and I’m a project manager. We used to work at the same agency and we always tossed around different business ideas with each other. One day we came across a space for lease that we really loved, so we put our heads together to come up with an idea for it. Ultimately the space didn’t work out, but the idea for Brainbar stuck.
What made you both decide to open a learning collective together?
We’re both avid documentary watchers and online class takers, but craved something similar to do in real life where we could meet people with similar interests in our own city.
What about the city of Buffalo is conducive to opening a learning collective like Brainbar? What makes Buffalo special from other cities?
Buffalo is very community driven, which can be witnessed when a snowstorm hits, the Bills have a game, or at pretty much any event in the city, no matter the season. We love coming together as a community to support and feed off one another. Secondly though, Buffalo is also a very diverse city. While Buffalo may have been known for chicken wings and crap weather, the past five years have been different, and that can be seen in our arts scene, the medical campus, the ever-growing brewery and distillery scene, and the myriad festivals that take place every year from Juneteenth to Taste of Diversity on Grant Street.
What types of classes will you be offering once you open?
We’ll offer offbeat classes on anything and everything, from sushi making to wine tasting to the history of the Internet. As of late, we have teachers lined up to teach about puppetry and some hands-on zentangle.
Those sound like some pretty cool classes! So, wondering what’s next for Brainbar? On July 30th Karlie and Meagan closed their Kickstarter campaign where they raised over $4,000. Aside from covering the cost of startup expenses, the money they raised will all go towards furnishing their new space (location TBD) and establishing Brainbar’s roots in Buffalo. Until they officially open, you can stay up to date with all things Brainbar by checking their website or following them on Facebook and Twitter.