Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 2, 2013.


Creating live art through collaboration and community. Working out creative muscles!

UPDATE:I am incredibly grateful for all the support the Project Gym has received! At half-way through the campaign we are already at 90% of the goal. If we can make it past our original goal here is where that funding will go:

- If we hit $6,000 we'll be able to offer substantial scholarships for our summer weekend intensive. 

- If we hit $7,500 we'll be able to start exploring a youth program and works-in-progress showing in Fall 2013

- Any amount made over that will become part of a scholarship fund for the 2014 year and beyond.

What is the Project Gym? 

The Project Gym is a center for creative development devoted to creating live art (theatre, performance art, dance, music) through collaboration and community. The Project Gym provides member artists the space and structure to strengthen their creative muscles. It provides an environment to inspire innovation and artistic growth through individualized and collaborative support.

The Project Gym developed out of an idea that all artists have projects that get stuck. These projects live in the back of their minds and rarely are given the chance to surface. Dramaturg and theatre artist Hannah J. Hessel dreamed of a space where artists could come together to grow their work and skills through collaboration and experimentation. Like a gym for physical fitness, it would provide the workout that artists need to push their projects forward and build new collaborations and resources. 

Hannah started to make the dream of Project Gym a reality in 2012. Two beta testing sessions have been completed. She brought together theatre and performance artists who met once a week and engaged in learning sessions, creative play, expansive brainstorming, and built strong connections to each other. The feedback from participants was universally positive, but modest financial support is needed to enable the Gym to continue, and to expand its activities. With the new year, the Gym is ready to take a step forward.

How You Can Help

In 2013, the Project Gym is hoping to double the number of sessions and resources given to artists in order to make their memberships as rewarding as possible. Following the metaphor of a fitness center, memberships are available for artists who want to attend regular sessions or drop-in when they feel like they need the workout. Each of the sessions provides the opportunity for members to teach each other new skills and to work through their projects by being audience, collaborator and performer at once. Visit for more information about the Gym and membership opportunities. 

By helping to fund the 2013 Project Gym you are providing tools, space, assistance and time to artists from the Washington D.C. area. The 2013 season is an important step in developing how the Project Gym can continue to play a role in the lives and projects of local artists. 

Thanks to your gifts:

  • Member Artists will have the opportunity to strengthen their creative muscles, develop new skills, share their strengths, grow confidence and build new collaborations. 
  • Creative Trainers will be paid to consult with Member Artists on their projects and growth.
  • Gym sessions will be able to take place twice a week, allowing Members more flexibility in their schedules. 
  • Scholarships will be made available to Member Artists insuring that they can receive the training and community they need but may not be able to afford.
  • The Project Gym will be able to offer full Spring and Fall semesters as well as a weekend intensive in the Summer. Each semester will provide new opportunities for building creative muscles and strengthening new projects. 

From the Member Artists

I think the most valuable thing is expanding my network. I have a small group of people I work with and trust, and now I am meeting and working and getting down with artists I might not have met or had the chance to get to know. -  Wyckham Avery, Theatre Maker and Educator

I carry with me a new sense of confidence through the Gym that I was not expecting at all. - Liz Maestri, Playwright

My biggest reward has been the weekly workout of being an artist, of being in an artistic conversation with everyone else in the room. - Jessica Lefkow, Performer and Director

Project Gym helped me identify boundaries I didn't know I had. And then helped me expand them. And it did so in an environment of safety, where I felt comfortable challenging myself. - Stephen Spotswood, Playwright

How many places would you need to go to do things like: learn to juggle, perform clown scenes, make up songs, learn Tai Chi, help a playwright figure out problems, and create abstract art out of a cardboard box? With The Gym, the answer is one...The Gym is exactly what I needed to get me out of my rut and on my feet. - Karen Lange, Performer, Co-Artistic Director of Pinky Swear Productions

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

All projects contain an element of risk and the possibility of failure. The growth of Project Gym has been slow and steady enabling the risk to remain as excitement and the failure as an opportunity for growth. With your help and the help of the wonderful member artists, I have no doubt that we will continue to grow and strengthen.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question
pledged of $5,000 goal
seconds to go
  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    23 backers

    Every donor no matter the level will have their name listed on the website.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $18 or more
    You selected

    47 backers

    A personalized thank you card featuring original work from a Project Gym member.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $36 or more
    You selected

    22 backers

    Admission to an exclusive “Meet the Artists” party in DC spring 2013 + original thank you card.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $54 or more
    You selected

    18 backers

    A 5 session drop-in pass (only available to kickstarter donors) valid through 2013. Can be used by donor or given as a gift to a friend. + admission to party + original thank you card.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    8 backers

    Two creative training sessions: good for professional and amateur alike! In person or over skype + 5 session drop-in pass +admission to party + original thank you card.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    Non-member: Sponsor an artist! Receive updates over the course of two semesters from Project Gym artists. This will include original works of art throughout the year +admission to party

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    For Members only: this reward will cover the cost of a full year (2 semesters) of Project Gym. No additional fees until 2014. Dependent on acceptance or previous membership. + thank you card.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    1 backer

    An original song, play or piece of visual art created and signed specifically for you by a Project Gym member, and cookies, because you deserve cookies. + two creativity training sessions + 5 session drop-in pass + admission to party + original thank you card.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    A dinner party for you and three friends with Project Gym members (transportation to DC not included!) + original work of art + cookies + two creativity training sessions + 5 session drop-in pass + admission to party + original thank you card + online thank you.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
Funding period

- (20 days)