A small group in Ottawa is hoping to set up a new, not-for-profit music venue in the city that would also serve as a community music centre during the day.

Kim Lymburner Folkrum arts centre music community Ottawa January 2014

Kim Lymburner wants to set up a new music venue in Ottawa that doubles as a community music centre. (Kate Porter/CBC)

The proposed space is called the Folkrum, and it's the brainchild of Kim Lymburner, who worked at the Canada Council for the Arts for 20 years.

He said Ottawa should have a place where artists can go during the day to meet for coffee, take workshops about the music business, and rehearse.

By night, Folkrum would be a licensed venue for all-ages shows of all genres and from all cultures.

"It seemed to me there were a lot of nice places to play — friendly places, small places — but there was no real centre, there was no focal point. And that is true to this day," Lymburner said.

"They're not really dedicated to music in the arts in a general sense where the community can come and connect, [and] where artists can develop their talent, hone their skills, meet people, network and become better."

First public meeting being held tonight

Marion and Stéphane Arthur-Kiss perform in a band called Saturn Fly. They said they'd like to have a place to meet other musicians regularly, and to work on a new Ottawa sound they think is emerging.

"It is very easy in some ways for us just to stay in our home studio, and then upload our tracks online and never meet anybody, really, except ourselves," Marion Arthur-Kiss said. "And I think that that's not really a good thing, artistically.

"I know that I have a lot of time during the day and if I could go and hang out with other musicians and just chat, that would be a very different kind of communication than we have when we're all ramped up for a show. And I can't think of anywhere in Ottawa where you can do that right now," she said.

Lymburner sees Folkrum as a social enterprise that wouldn't rely on government funding but also would not turn a profit. It would make money by renting out space to artists, running programs, selling coffee during the day and having a licensed bar at night.

"It will be run like a social enterprise. We make profit, the profits go right back into the business and for the benefit of the community and the artists that use it," he said.

Lymburner said he hopes to have a space rented and retrofitted within two years with money raised during a concert series and a crowdfunding campaign.

The group behind Folkrum is holding its first public meeting Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Draft Pub on King Edward Avenue.

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