Monday, June 24, 2013

The Venture Compound Evolution Quest: Building Something Great

As great as my time at USF has been for my scholarship, the greatest thing that Tampa Bay has given me is my connection to The Venture Compound.  Venture is an arts collective focusing on young and emerging artists, and I've been serving as their Director of Communication for about a year now.  This is the biggest part of a major new chapter in my life - the transition from academic contemplation to some serious dirty-hands engagement with projects aimed at making a world that I want to live in.  The Venture experience has been amazing in every way, starting with discovering a large community of aesthetic like minds who were committed to making art happen with a professional approach.  Our mission of bringing the weirdest possible art to the widest possible audience is something that pushes my buttons in every way.

So, as part of my contribution to the effort, a couple of months ago I started work on a funding campaign to raise money so we could make some needed upgrades to facilities.  Last night, that campaign came to a close, with us raising $1,661, including some offline contributions.  For a lot of nonprofits, this would be a pretty minimal sum, but for us it's the largest amount of money we've ever had in one place.  We've got detailed plans for how to spend that money, and you can look over them at our Indiegogo page:

I decided to use Indiegogo because we weren't entirely confident of our fundraising potential, and their flexible funding option appealed to us.  As it turns out, I was definitely overconfident about how much we could raise, so I'm glad I was a little cautious.  Still, obviously the effort is a success, and it's going to allow us to do some amazing new things at Venture.  Even more important, I hope this establishes our legitimacy as an arts institution with a large community of serious supporters - something that's going to mean a lot for future fundraising.

We have had plenty of expressions of support and love that can't be measured in dollars, and in most respects, that's the most important part.  Still, there's something truly moving about having so many people make real sacrifices to support us, and most importantly trust us, in this more abstract way.  We make a lot of jokes about what a bunch of screwups we are, but clearly we have cultivated a lot of people who disagree, and are willing to see what we can accomplish with more resources.  We don't plan on letting them down.

(If you missed the opportunity to be part of our fundraiser, don't fret!  I'm sure we'll be doing it again soon.  Though of course it won't be nearly as cool the second time around.)

Saturday, June 22, 2013


In addition to my wide variety of other shenanigans, I'm on the Board of Directors of the Venture Compound, a nonprofit arts collective where I have various duties, including running our current Indiegogo fundraiser.  And our fundraiser is KICKING ASS.  Following is current info on our status.  Please visit the fundraiser to kick in and earn some great premiums including our awesome t-shirts, membership privileges, and our epic PIZZA PARTY!

WE ARE KILLING THIS. Our fundraiser has hit $1,120 raised. What does that mean? Well LEMME TELL YOU:

Gallery Lighting: FUNDED. – We love art, but sometimes our gallery doesn’t. We will now have proper gallery lighting so we can showcase the greatness of our artists.
Remaining Fire Code Needs: FUNDED. – We can buy an emergency exit door, updated emergency lighting, and fire extinguishers. Yay for not dying!
Backyard Prettification: FUNDED. – We know you love our pallets and broken plastic chairs. But how about some hand-built wood benches, tables, and maybe even outdoor lighting? How about some garden boxes? How about a FUCKING JUNGLE GYM? NOW THEY'RE COMING. Well, we'll give the jungle gym a 'maybe.'
Venture Compound Sign Hanging Committee : FUNDED. – Now we can afford to hang the awesome sign Jim built!

What We Can Do If We Hit $1400:
TV Mountain Historical Landmark Rescue Plan. 
TV Mountain needs to be rewired and engineered for endurance so we can all continue to enjoy 15-channel, quadruple-track old-movie marathons in shuddering monochrome. This would involve cleaning up the wiring and building new shelves so we don’t die when a 35” Samsung from 1989 falls from the top row.
Check out more info on TV Mountain HERE: 

What We Can Do If We Hit $2,000
Sound Enhancements: It might not cover our entire wishlist, but a couple hundred could let us make some real upgrades to what you hear. Believe it or not, The Venture Compound has been using BORROWED SPEAKERS for over a year.  We'd really love to have something to call our own.  We'd also like to get our hands on a recording unit for RECORDING LIVE BANDS - recordings that would be released to YOU, the public.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Audiogalaxy History

I've just discovered the blog of Tom Kleinpeter, a former founder and engineer at Audiogalaxy, a music sharing website where I cut my writing chops.  There were two very separate teams there, and I didn't know Tom well, so it's fascinating to read about what was going on on the other side of the wall, so to speak.

I owe a lot to my Audiogalaxy experience - it basically got me into grad school.  It's nice to know the founders are still plugging along.

There are three parts to the series: