This morning, a friend of mine sent out a message saying merely “Lamenting another non-profit/arts org on the brink: http://intermediaarts.org/ “. Having come from a nonprofit arts organization myself, that sort of thing is sort of a shaking headline.
Reading through IA’s website is troubling and comforting in the same breath. IA has been a unique organization, uniquely geared to the Twin Cities’ arts scenes, artistic needs, and artistic potentials. The fact that they’re laying off all of their full-time staff aside of the Executive/Artistic Director means this is Very Serious. An arts organization of that size has to be in dire straits to cut its staff, it means there is nothing else left to cut- and one person, no matter how much of a superhero they are, cannot do all the things the organization used to do, muchless all of the things necessary to pull the organization out of its tailspin. Beyond that, the call to arms is also a bit of a last resort sort of thing. Large funders don’t like to hear that nonprofit organizations aren’t doing well- they want to fund successes, not risk the chance of throwing their efforts at a dying beast. Making something like this public is a risk.
However. It’s a good risk that IA is taking, in my opinion. IA has a history of using transparency in its operations to make the best use of the public, to keep the public trust and investment. Secondly, Intermedia has a coherent, cohesive, and well-stated plan which they’ve made public. In all of the nonprofit arts org struggles I’ve seen, this has the best chance of pulling through. Check out IA’s FAQ page- specifically the fourth question, regarding sustainability. It’s comprehensive and earnest.
Why should you care? Intermedia supports writers, artists, performers, and children. This is why I care: I’ve seen plays, readings, spoken word, and dance on their stage. My friends and professors have graced that stage (or done tech there). My friends have hung art there. The walls (both inside and outside) always have made me happy. Intermedia hosts the SASE Jerome, Verve, and Naked Stages grants.
So, what can you do?
1. Attend their Community Townhall this Friday evening at 5:30. Be part of the community, even if you haven’t before.
2. Donate money. I know, the economy, we’re all struggling- this is a big deal. More than anything, they need finances.
3. Contact Mayor R.T. Rybak, and ask the city to step in.
4. Contact Governor Tim Pawlenty, and ask the state to step in.
We may have gotten the environmental/arts amendment to the state constitution, but that money doesn’t even start getting collected until next summer. More on the amendment
More info at http://www.intermediaarts.org/.
Now the good news.
The Individual World Poetry Slam took place this past week in Charlotte, NC. Poets from all over the US and three other countries. The Individual World Poetry Slam is run by Poetry Slam, Inc. (aka PSI). PSI has also been experiencing financial duress, but seems to be doing better.
IWPS (pronounced “Eye Whips”) takes one representative from a PSI certified venue, to fill 50 slots on a first-come first-serve basis, 17 slots to folks who are registered with PSI and don’t have regular access to a slam venue, and then slots for 2 poets who have won a last-chance slam prior to IWPS. IWPS reports 70 participants (my math says it’s 69 slots, but who knows what actually took place), battling it out to decide who are the best individual slam poets in the world.
It sounds like the event was a great success, and Twin Cities’ own 6 is 9 took the number 3 spot. Congrats, 6 is 9!