When Hxouse (pronounced House), the mentoring and incubator program for Toronto’s emerging artists, entrepreneurs and other innovators formed by The Weeknd’s creative director La Mar Taylor, launches next month, it will do so with the support of Twitter Canada.
After all, it was on Twitter where the idea for Hxouse spread its wings.
“Since the beginning of our creative journey Twitter has always been a platform that allowed us to express ourselves in our own unfiltered voice,” Taylor, co-founder of Hxouse, creative director of The Weeknd’s XO label (andan) Adweek Toronto Brand Star, said in a statement. “It is only right that we align with the platform that allowed for us to build such a resource beyond vision.”
The ideation behind Hxouse dates back to Dec. 5, 2016, when Taylor issued a series of tweets addressing a creative problem in Toronto. He wrote that “our kids/Toronto need a place to build. I’m tired of seeing missed opportunities for creatives who didn’t have the tools.” Taylor then followed up with a pledge to “build a facility for all the young creatives in Toronto” by the time he hit 30, giving him four years to accomplish his goal.
In under two years, he hit that goal.
Taylor put that promise “out into the universe to hold himself accountable,” Hxouse co-founder Ahmed Ismail told Adweek. Ismail saw the original tweets and then quickly reached out to his long-time friend and fellow Toronto native to help.
From there, it took off. The Toronto facility will open its doors on Nov. 6, admitting its first wave of students. The program will give students the chance to work on XO projects and other activations at Taylor’s branding agency, Hxouse Creative Studios, which will be located at the same site.
Twitter comes into the equation by providing access to resources, strategic mentorship and opportunities for students to advance their careers.
“This was a natural alliance for us,” Ismail noted. “The Twitter relationship will create bespoke content, mentoring and career opportunities for the next generation of creative leaders, which is the ultimate goal for Hxouse.”
To announce the partnership, Twitter and Hxouse hosted an activation in Yonge-Dundas Square for Nuit Blanche last week, an annual arts festival in Toronto that brought 78 installations to the city this year. Hxouse’s activation illuminated the square with its animated video by JonJonAnimation, which included music from MyBestFriendJacob, to illustrate the journey Taylor and his fellow Toronto natives have been on to launch Hxouse since those initial tweets.