Who We Are & What We're Doing
Founded in 2009, Chattanooga Aerials has been operating under the direction and leadership of Jen Keehn since 2013. In that time, the studio has run as a successful business and provided a creative home for dozens of aerial students—and continued to do so until August of 2016, when our facility on Lee Highway was unexpectedly sold. We've been using the time since to not only consider the future of Chattanooga Aerials, but also find a way to better tap into Chattanooga's growing circus culture. There is so much crossover between aerial dance and other circus arts that it truly is the perfect opportunity to bring all of these different disciplines into one shared space.
How Your Contribution Will Be Used
For the last few months we've been trying to find a building in Chattanooga capable of accommodating the unique requirements of aerial dance and other circus arts. We've found one near Chattanooga's Southside and are currently under contract, but need your help to get to the finish line! Once we close and are inside the new space, we will need to shift our big-box warehouse into a professional performance and training facility, which involves:
- Installing proper flooring
- Amending the ceiling height
- Building a circus-style truss system
- Purchasing additional aerial and circus equipment
- And other renovations required to create a safe place for the creative exploration that Chattanooga's Circus community is in great need of!
What Happens Next
Once we are up and running, we will offer a robust schedule of aerial classes and pick up right where we left off with our current students, AND the many new ones we hope to acquire through this Kickstarter and our newly found freedom of space and time! We will also finally have a facility that can accommodate all of the many other circus arts and artists of Chattanooga (plus any traveling circus lovers) and the workshops, classes, and performances that they have to offer. We intend for all of this overlap to inspire more creative collaboration than ever before!
Initially Offered Skills
- Aerial Arts - including (but not limited to) trapeze, straight silks, slings, hammocks, lyra, plus other specialty equipment to come!
- Acrobatic Arts - including (but not limited to) acrobalance, acroyoga, handstands, hand balancing, high acrobatics, and dynamic stunts.
- Object Manipulation - including (but not limited to) juggling, staff, poi, flagging, hooping, fans, and just about anything else we can get our hands on!
- Pole Arts - including (but not limited to) aerial pole, pole silks, Chinese pole, pole fitness, spinning pole, and many other styles of pole dance arts!
In addition to circus-style pole arts, we are super excited to be teaming up with Party Girls Dance & Fitness Studio, the only locally-owned and operated pole dancing studio in Chattanooga. They will share our new facility with us, adding a little spice to the variety of performing arts that we will have available within the circus center.
Rewards & Stretch Goals
You may have noticed that any reward over $30 includes "Mural Name," which means we will be hand lettering your name permanently onto our studio walls as part of an amazing mural that will be created by our own favorite acrobat Lydia Fogo. You can see some of her other work here!
Successfully reaching our $5,000 initial goal will unlock a brand new set of rewards, including tickets to our exclusive Kickstarter Backer Party in the new facility!
Giving a Reward for the Holidays?
If you'd like to give one of these rewards as a gift for the holidays, please send us an email and we can provide you with a certificate to announce your present. These will, however, be subject to successful funding of the Kickstarter, and if the reward involves the space being open (such as classes or workshops), they will have to be redeemed according to the timeline set out in the reward description. Please reach out via email if you have any further questions.
Risks and challenges
We are currently under contract on a building at the southern edge of the Southside neighborhood in downtown Chattanooga. Though we have secured our down payment and continue to gather additional funding, there is still the possibility that the big banks will not come through with the ideal financial agreements we are seeking. In the unlikely event we cannot obtain the building we are currently under contract on, we have three options:
Lease (a different facility) instead of purchasing. Before we landed on the space we're working on now, we were able to find a few options that would serve the needs of Chattanooga Aerials alone, but would cost the business much more over time. Although we could revisit those options, it would mean putting the circus center aside until more funds were available.
Use Kickstarter funds primarily for more money down, instead of improvements. Depending on the amount raised, it could potentially allow us to shift our loan options, which will secure the building, but may slow down renovations.
Buy a different, less expensive building, which we would have to find. This could extend the timeline for fulfilling rewards, and hopefully we don't have to go this route. But it remains a viable option that will still allow growth.
No one likes an option four, but we feel like a "worst-case scenario" option is the most transparent. Should we end up unable to find any space at all, and we are still not in operation by July 1, 2017, we will refund all rewards requiring a facility to fulfill them (Intro Workshops, Private Lessons, etc).
However, with enough help from our Kickstarter supporters, we will have no need for any of the above options, Chattanooga Aerials will be back up and running, and we will ALL help to make Chattanooga Circus Center become a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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