Carrie Rengers

Confluence Community Center to open in Commerce Arts District

An exterior door with part of a former elevator at the new 520Commerce lofts in the Commerce Arts District. (Dec. 16, 2016)
An exterior door with part of a former elevator at the new 520Commerce lofts in the Commerce Arts District. (Dec. 16, 2016) The Wichita Eagle

UPDATED – The orange couch has found a new home.

CreativeRush, the 5-year-old group known for its First Tuesday talks in which speakers sit on an orange sofa, is joining forces with Confluence Community, an alternative education program that connects students to business and art communities.

The two are going to move to space at Craig Slawson’s new 520Commerce residential and commercial lofts in the Commerce Arts District.

CreativeRush founder Kylie Brown says the deal came together within the first 10 minutes she met with Slawson recently.

“He was like, ‘I will work with you guys,’ ” she says. “I was like, ‘What? … You haven’t even heard our pitch yet.’ ”

The Confluence Community Center, which will open this spring, will be a mix of a lot of things. The easiest way to think of it is as a collaborative workspace that will allow educational opportunities.

In the 1,000 square feet at the center’s top floor, anyone will be able to rent the orange couch for presentations.

CreativeRush isn’t going to tackle First Tuesdays anymore, Brown says. She says she’s been busy doing various programs, such as art and film projects, which will have a home in the new space. Brown says she doesn’t have time for the talks but wants to support others who can take them on.

Confluence Community will use the center for educational opportunities in various ways.

There will be a pop-up marketplace in which sellers can rent booths. There also will be a conference room anyone can rent, a market with seasonal vegetables and artisan items such as honey for sale and a small cafe with coffee and vegan grab-and-go items.

“We are hoping to fill the whole space as a community center and make it a really collaborative area for … even other business to sponsor sections for certain types of … growth and development or certain types of products,” says Phil Sanders, director of Confluence Community.

She says that could be an all-organic produce area or a juicing section.

Sanders says they’d prefer all 4,000 square feet to not have walls so it’s an open, more collaborative space.

“We really want to work with everybody and see what we can do together.”

Downstairs, there will be artists’ studios and a maker’s space.

“It’s a little bit of an odd cog that we’re trying to build,” Brown says. “Our whole goal is to build this kind of alternative education – business, technology, arts – for students.”

Bree Maybee of J.P. Weigand & Sons is handling deals for the commercial side of 520Commerce.

“We’re very, very thankful for Craig and for Bree for working with us and kind of sharing a very similar vision,” Sanders says. “They really wanted to see something here in Commerce that would help … keep that community and that art alive over here. We’re just very excited that they want to collaborate and work with us and help us get this going.”

Sanders says anyone who wants to volunteer to help get the new space ready or make a donation for building materials or anything else should visit

There are a lot of pieces that have to come together, but Brown says that’s OK.

“I’m not too scared of taking those risks. That’s how I launched CreativeRush,” she says.

“We’re launching a lot of dreams in one swift go.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers