Megan Dorsey (left) and Brianna Wright are the co-founders of What’s Up Racine.
BY KATIE MATTESON
When Megan Dorsey, 27, moved to Racine with her fiance in July 2016, she wanted to find friends and an outlet for her creative energy. After a few months of coming up short, she created a Facebook page and posed a question to the universe: What’s Up Racine?
She started by asking what people did in their spare time.
One of the people who responded immediately was Brianna Wright, 26, who was also interested in connecting with fellow millennials who wanted to make a local impact.
The two started corresponding and it wasn’t long before they would meet for lunch at Kewpee’s and become fast friends.
The co-founders soon came up with a mission statement: “What’s Up Racine is a social rebranding initiative with the end goal of making Racine a destination city for young professionals, students, creatives, and entrepreneurs.”
They realized right away that community pride was important and so they began to post photos of places throughout the community to highlight features that could get overlooked.
They also continued poll their peers and learn about their interests.
Soon it was time to bring people together.
Their first event was called Newbies and Natives at uncorkt.
They followed up with the Big Ideas Happy Hour at Toad Hall.
Next came Pop Up Racine at The Branch at 1501.
In the midst of developing What’s Up Racine, the partners have continued to grow professionally and increase their individual community involvement.
Dorsey graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in art after serving an internship at the 16th Street Gallery. She currently works in cataloging and research for Dorsey Antiques.
Wright graduated from the graphics and marketing communication program at Gateway Technical College and after completing a photography internship with Real Racine was hired as social media manager for Racine County’s Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The women co-chair the Vibrant Atmosphere for Young Adults Wave Team for Visioning a Greater Racine, where they’ve identified the team’s short term goals as:
- Revamping downtown events
- Theater Guild nights
- Block parties and street festivals
- Variety of music events
- Harbor Market
- Pop Up Shops in empty storefronts
- College discounts
- Student appreciation week
They are working with VGR’s Art and Culture Wave Team to bring public art to Uptown and help establish Imagine Alley downtown.
In August they launched a Permanent Pop Up at The Branch at 1501, to establish a consignment area “dedicated to support our local creatives and makers that will be open during the cafe’s regular hours.”
Meanwhile, their social media following has grown to 2,300 on Facebook and 1,830 on Instagram.
Stay tuned for what’s up next.