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The circus arts groups of Madison, Wisconsin hope to form a 24-hour community circus center that is open to the public.
The circus arts groups of Madison, Wisconsin hope to form a 24-hour community circus center that is open to the public.
237 backers pledged $13,845 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$13,845

237

HELP THE MADISON CIRCUS SPACE BECOME A REALITY!

Your mother was right to steer you away from being in the circus, but it’s too late for us, and now we need your help.

Madison, Wisconsin has a thriving circus scene with widespread community support, but none of its circus arts groups has ever had a true home. In the many places we rent space around town, we’re treated as second-class citizens. Scheduling coordinators relegate us to odd hours and reserve prime-time slots for traditional sports. Our equipment is routinely shoved to the side and mishandled in storage spaces, and we’re rarely able to creatively collaborate because we have no communal practice space.

But we’d like all of that to change. Over a period of many months, we talked about how we could further the circus arts in Madison and make them more accessible to the public. We gathered representatives from every circus group in the city and formed an executive board. Our board studied models of similar organizations, like the Aloft Loft in Chicago and the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics in Brooklyn. We also researched circus schools that work with the public, like Circus Juventas in the Twin Cities and the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro. We even found the perfect space—a 4600ft² warehouse with 22-foot ceilings that are ideal for dangling, flying, and dancing. 

Our Goals

We have so many hopes for the Madison Circus Space. In brief, we want to:

• Offer public classes for both kids and adults from our certified instructors in aerial dance, static trapeze, aerial silks, German wheel, aerial yoga, juggling, hoop dance, and even table tennis

• Encourage unconventional physical activity and a sense of creative play in students and community members

• Promote cross-pollination among circus arts groups by getting them together in one space to share ideas and work on collaborative performances

• Provide 24-hour access to a welcoming and creative environment for circus hobbyists and professionals who have no place of their own to rehearse

• Treat all participants as first-class citizens and give them the respect they don’t always get in their current practice locations

The Madison Circus Space is far from perfect, but we’ve been working on it like crazy. Dozens of volunteers have shown up to help us scrub away grease and grime, design beam clamps and span sets for safe aerial rigging, and lay sheets of plywood for a new sprung wood floor.

Your Role

Although we have no paid workers and are entirely volunteer-run, we can’t manage all of the Madison Circus Space’s start-up expenses by ourselves. For our circus space home to exist, we REALLY need your help. By supporting our campaign, you’ll:

• Foster long-term appreciation for the creative arts in Madison and beyond

• Champion the completely unique concept of a 24-hour circus arts space

• Enable us the creative collaboration and criticism we need to grow as artists

• Help us provide high-quality performances, classes, and workshops to the public

Where Your Money Goes

As circus artists, we have a healthy respect for money, since we don’t always see too much of it! We perform our work because we love it and not because it makes us rich. Thus, we know how to budget responsibly and spend wisely. Here’s what your donations will help fund:

• Affordable circus space memberships for hobbyists and professionals who need an accommodating place to practice

• Financially viable class rental space for certified circus arts instructors who cannot afford their own buildings or studios

• Guest workshops that are open to the public from nationally and globally renowned instructors

• Expert aerial rigging in the space for silks, static trapeze, aerial yoga, lyra, and more

• A public open house that will introduce the space to the community and promote public offerings for the circus arts

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

We absolutely couldn’t open the Madison Circus Space without you, so your support means THE WORLD to us. No donation is too small, so please just give what you can. Got a dollar? Toss it our way and we’ll send you your very own Madison Circus Space bumper sticker! For a little more, you can see us perform in person or on DVD. And for something more personal, you can get a tangible, lasting thank-you plaque in our space or get one of us to craft a custom circus act just for you. 

Please check out all of our rewards at the column on the right—we can’t wait to share them with you to show how much we appreciate you being part of our team.

Right now, the Madison Circus Space is still a pie-in-the-sky vision, but thanks to you, it’s getting closer to a reality every day. We’re dealing with start-up expenses of at least $30,000, so even if we pass our goal, please keep donating. Share this page with friends, family members, and other arts supporters, and know that we are so grateful to you for helping us create our dream space!

Risks and challenges

Establishing a community circus space is so exciting, but we also realize just how much work it takes. We’ve spent considerable time establishing membership and safety policies, researching organizations with similar nonprofit models, and doing hard physical labor. Although there are many challenges that lie ahead for us, we’re confident the Madison Circus Space can handle them all and grow into a thriving nonprofit.

• In building our sprung wood floor, we’ve found volunteers who are professional carpenters. They will direct the project and brainstorm solutions for any pitfalls along the way.

• We are conducting a structural engineering review of the Madison Circus Space building to ensure safe aerial rigging.

• To avoid falling behind on rent and utility payments, we’ve devised an operational system that produces income from three sources: class and workshop rental time, club meeting rental time, and individual memberships.

Once again, we are so grateful for your support and donations. Thank you!!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Your own Madison Circus Space bumper sticker!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A personalized, circus-themed thank-you haiku.

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    32 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Receive a VIP ticket to our November benefit show (for locals) or a DVD recording of the show (for non-locals).

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    31 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Your very own Madison Circus Space T-shirt!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Your very own, one-of-a-kind hoop, courtesy of the Madison Hoop Dance group! Locals only; you must pick up your hoop.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A PAIR of VIP tickets to our November benefit show, so you can take your hottest date with you! Locals only.

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    17 backers
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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Carly (MCS Secretary and German wheel artist) will make and send you a unique, one-of-a-kind circus necklace, bracelet, or pair of earrings along with a personal note of thanks.

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    Reward no longer available 12 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Receive a full-day circus sampler workshop and try juggling, hooping, German wheel, and more! Locals only. For non-locals, receive a digital tutorial on learning to juggle three balls.

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    8 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    We will feature your name on a plaque at the Madison Circus Space as a special, lasting thank-you reward.

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    36 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    We will create a personalized circus act dedicated to you and post it on YouTube, publicly or privately, for you to view and share with anyone you like!

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Receive a personalized, unforgettable tribute from the audience at our November benefit show, recorded live and sent to you digitally.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    We will travel to your event (anywhere within an hour of the Madison area) and perform a 30-minute circus show just for you! You must be able to provide an adequate performance area or let us know what you have available so we can tailor the show to you.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    We'll name one of our Madison Circus Space bathrooms after you and put up a plaque to prove it!

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    We'll create a life-sized cardboard cutout of you waving hello and snap a photo of it at the entrance to the Madison Circus Space. Of course, you get the framed photo.

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Funding period

- (30 days)