GBC Entrepreneur Spotlight: Wes Grove and John Baker
Wes Grove (left) and John Baker (right) are the co-founders of Mobile Arts Programming, or MAP, a mobile arts programming service that provides the opportunity for participants to engage in arts-based programming within the comfort of their own community setting.
Music with MAP is a programming platform where experienced facilitators run music workshops that explore various aspects of songwriting as a way to expand creative capacity and healthy forms of self-expression. Those skills are implemented throughout the workshop resulting in the writing and recording an original song.
We had the opportunity to ask John Baker and Wes Grove some questions about their entrepreneurial journey!
John/Wes, what’s your educational background?
In 2011, Wes graduated from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College. In 2018, Wes graduated with Honours from the Child and Youth Care Program at George Brown College.
In 2007, John graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Arts & Contemporary Studies with a minor in Marketing. In 2018, John graduated with Honours from the Child and Youth Care Program at George Brown College.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
We are both extremely self-motivated people and passionate about our idea. The idea of working for yourself and starting your own business can be a very scary and daunting endeavour, but the reality is that you are in charge of your own success, direction, and growth. That in itself is a very rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur.
Why did you create Mobile Arts Programming?
With the current landscape of the youth in care system, we found some holes that exist in current programming and wanted to bring our ideas and musical passion to spaces that do not always have access to creative outlets. Being experienced musicians, having the opportunity to share our passion and musical creativity with youth has been a great pleasure. Music is a universal language and people often forget that you do not need extensive musical training to create beautiful music!
How successful is the program?
We have been working very hard to partner with existing organizations. We are pleased tom say that we have been involved with the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto Community Housing, the YMCA, and the United Church. We have several more programming options on the horizon and eagerly look forward to implementing our program for youth in various spaces. Here are some quotes from participants we’ve worked with in the recent past:
“I really enjoyed the time knowledge spent from both of you! Thanks for your support, Rock On!!”
“The facilitators created a warm, inclusive, and welcoming environment that made it comfortable to create and share music!”
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do what you are passionate about! The result of passionate work is often success. We both love making music and consider ourselves very lucky to be able to share our skill sets by making music with the participants of our program. It is essential to be smart with your money and often times that means not spending money on unnecessary expenses; sometimes that can be just as important as finding revenue streams. Starting a business is a lot of work and brings many tiring hours, but can be very rewarding.
John has been playing guitar for 23 years, with extensive experience performing live, working as a session musician and performing original material in addition to writing and recording original music. John also has experience running “How To” bicycle workshops, and also runs a service operating as a mobile mechanic and workshop instructor for various companies within their workplace.
Wes has several years of experience in the music industry as a live sound and audio engineer, in addition to playing and writing his own music. Wes has also spent over a decade running youth programming focusing on music and arts based interventions at a bereavement centre. Additionally, Wes has facilitated music improvisation groups at various mental health care facilities in Toronto, as well as various community arts-based programs.