Wear your love for the arts on your sleeve

It’s Sweater Season at the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts

Photo of students and staff of the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts with their Centre the Arts sweatshirts and toques.

Show your support of the arts and students studying at the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts (TCPA) with the purchase of a "Centre the Arts" sweatshirt or toque, seen here in a pre-pandemic photo.

Listen to the first Sweater Season story, a podcast featuring a conversation between Local Laundry's chief laundry folder, Connor Curran, Phil Cimolai, general manager of the TCPA, and Brad Mahon, dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Mount Royal University Conservatory.

Supporters of the arts and the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts (TCPA) can wear their pride through a new initiative supporting talented young musicians while emphasizing the important role played by the sector.

Home of the Mount Royal University Conservatory as well as the Bella Concert Hall, the TCPA is selling sweatshirts emblazoned with "Centre the Arts" — the catchphrase of a new campaign highlighting the power the arts have to transform and inspire individuals and the community at large — and a bright pink toque sporting a graphic line drawing of the TCPA building.

“We believe the arts connect us to our neighbours, to ourselves and to our fellow Calgarians. The sweatshirts and toques are stylish reminders that the arts matter and the connectivity they provide,” says Phil Cimolai, general manager of the TCPA. “And you’ll feel good wearing them knowing that 100 per cent of the proceeds go to the Academy Endowment Fund (AEF), which supports students studying at the TCPA, conservatory of music.”

The AEF provides significant financial support to Academy and Advanced Performance students who attend a rigorous program of study aimed at accelerating their performance acumen. This unique program attracts students from across Canada and around the world due to its highly focused performance development curriculum.


"The arts bring communities of diverse populations together over a singularly relatable experience"

Phil Cimolai, general manager of Mount Royal University’s TCPA


Partnering with Local Laundry for the project was a natural fit. Building community is at the core of the company, which was co-founded by Mount Royal alumnus Dustin Paisley (Bachelor of Business Administration, 2015). Paisley, a 2014 winner at the JMH $70,000 LaunchPad Pitch Competition, worked at the what is now the Trico Changemaker Studio as a social innovation animator. Currently, he’s an entrepreneur strategist with ATB Financial's Calgary Entrepreneur Centre. Local Laundry has worked with other city organizations such as the Calgary Public Library and Loose Moose Theatre.

“We do our best to make every collaboration unique, but the Mount Royal/Taylor Centre collab was really special for us as we experimented with a few new garments and really pushed the limits for what we typically create,” Paisley says.

“It's obvious the team at MRU is very creative and forward-thinking. Working with organizations like the Taylor Centre for Performing Arts are our favourite ventures, as we get to try new things, be creative and really go outside the box, which in turn, attracts more partners in the future.”

Stitching together a community

Local Laundry is selective in who it works with. The company retains control over the process to ensure its values stay intact, Paisley says. By selling only made-in-Canada wares, the company supports Canadian jobs and a diversified economy while reducing its carbon footprint. Local Laundry also donates 10 per cent of its profits to local charities: $50,000 since its inception in 2015. Commitment to the community is a key pillar of the brand, Paisley says.

“The rewards to us are that we contribute to a better community and, as a small business, we can actually have an impact, which is important,” Paisley says. “We have challenges, too. We're the only clothing company in Canada that is dedicated to building community through the same type of pillars, meaning there is no blueprint or roadmap. We pull inspiration from a number of companies and groups, but ultimately, we are in charge of creating the most impactful brand we can.”

One of those impacts is the Giving Toque initiative. For every Centre the Arts toque purchased, Local Laundry donates another to a Calgary shelter. The TCPA signed on for 150 toques. (The sweatshirts and toques are available for purchase online via the Cougars Campus Store website.) It all reinforces the community nature of the arts, Cimolai says.

“The arts bring communities of diverse populations together over a singularly relatable experience. COVID-19 has taken that ability from us, for now. Because of that, people engaged in the arts are suffering on all levels, from organizations such as ours to performing groups to individual artists who have lost their income,” Cimolai says. “The simple act of purchasing a Centre the Arts sweatshirt or toque not only supports TCPA students, it also keeps the importance of the arts front and centre.”

For more Sweater Season stories, visit Taylor Centre Online.

Oct. 15, 2020 — Ruth Myles

Media request contact information.
Have a story idea? Please fill out this form.