The Imagination Station is a new non-profit kicking butt on its first project in Detroit: the demolition of a house destroyed by arson, the creation of a public art space on its foundation, and the green renovation of the abandoned house next door into a community media center.
Our approach to this involves using new media to share the journey with you, and to weave creativity and story telling into all the hard work that needs to be done. Along the way we hope to create a replicable model that can help others fundraise, share, and build energy around their own renovation projects.
Chapter 1 of the process is all about volunteer energy, cleaning up the properties, doing as much for the future media center as we can before winter comes, and removing the burned house that occupies the art space. A web presence and starter series of documentary videos like the one above have also been created and will play an increasingly prominent role as we move forward.
We've been fortunate to receive an outpouring of good will and volunteer labor since we started this summer and have begun to think of Chapter 1 as a community "barn razing" of sorts ("razing" meaning to take down -- a play on building new infrastructure while removing blight at the same time).
Back in the day, barns were essential structures for storage of hay and keeping of horses and cattle, which in those days were an inseparable part of farming. In the D, our community needs to remove blight, elevate the arts, build community and promote economic development and free our imaginations and that is why the Imagination Station has been launched.
Historically, participation in barn raisings were mandatory for community members. These participants were not paid. All able-bodied members of the community were expected to attend. Failure to attend a barn raising without the best of reasons leads to censure within the community. The Imagination Station Team will not censure non-participating community members ;-) but we sure need all able bodied volunteers and able pocketed supporters.
The costs associated with our project are varied, many, and fast moving. For example, we've thrown away mountains of trash from both houses, and every dumpster costs $400. Someone recently stole a bunch of borrowed work tools that we have to replace in addition to needing new ones. With no electricity on site, we could use a generator, which costs $450. We'd love to print up shirts to sell so peeps can represent the project around town. A new roof for the media center will cost around $8,000 (eek!). And so on.
This first public fundraising goal of $2,011 will help with all of that and set the tone for finishing out the year strong and moving on to Chapter 2 where we'll get deeper into the green redesign of the media center. Please note that the amount of money raised here can exceed $2,011 and we can make immediate practical use of every penny we receive. We'll post updates with exactly how it's all been spent and continue fundraising after this goal has been met.
In addition to Kickstarter backers, we also need to find partners and sponsors who can help support this work at higher levels while we create our own revenue streams. Please pass this link around to your friends and help out if you can. We have regular volunteer work days you can find out about through our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/facethestation and would love to meet you in person at the Imagination Station.
We also invite you to join us on Sunday, October 3rd at the Rainbow Blight party and fundraiser for Roosevelt Park, where we'll have our first art opening with an installation by artist Catie Newell.
Get in touch through email@example.com with questions and suggestions. Many thanks.
For more information please see:
• The Imagination Station website
• The Imagination Station in the press
• The Imagination Station Facebook page
• The Imagination Station Twitter feed
• For potential sponsors, please see our first sponsorship package, which you can download in a PDF format
A note on Watts:
As you can see in the Rewards section, every dollar you contribute earns you a Watt in our system. Watts are an experimental unit of social currency that you'll eventually be able to spend within the project (spend Watts to vote, etc) and perhaps on deals from future project partners (30 Watts gets you a free pizza, etc).
Money can be viewed as social energy -- when it comes into contact with good people and good ideas it can bring a vision to reality for all to share, the same way electricity can turn on a light bulb and illuminate space. No energy, no light. No money, no realization.
We think the metaphorical conversion of money to social energy and currency via Watts will be a fun way to measure dollar progress while making donations more interesting, tangible, and valuable for supporters. What will the Watt system become? It's hard to say exactly, but we'll start tracking them and experimenting with the concept right now and would love to hear your ideas for how they can be used.
- (18 days)