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.)

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