In August 2015, RVNG opened Commend, a retail, works, and community space in the dramatically, historically shifting Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. Our address, 172 Forsyth St between Rivington and Stanton, just across the way from Sarah D. Roosevelt Park.
Downtown Manhattan is at the historical center of an incredible array of music and art, having nurtured the avant-garde and counterculture in various capacities for decades. Communities thrive with and around artists. Communicating and contributing to NYC’s fringe history is a cultural and conscious responsibility for RVNG and Commend.
Designed by RVNG to manifest its creative core in a physical space where exchange is encouraged, each item and effort within Commend has an intentional place. The Commend setting is responsive, offering limited RVNG catalog “versions,” specially ordered records and literature on / by customer demand, and weekly events. The store is also the exhibition vehicle for all RVNG-related endeavors.
We support independent artists from within and beyond New York City. We stock handmade ceramics and textiles from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Jessica Hans, Nick Ozgunay, and Christin Ripley. Our record bins beam with fair-priced international 12”s, private press records hand-delivered from our neighbors, and the freshest wax from local labels. Our used book collection expands minds without shrinking wallets, just as our incenses, oils, and herbal blends cleanse body and spirits.
We adopt and care for others' plants through our Plant Parenthood program. We host intimate live performances, Wiki Edit-a-thon's, conversations, screenings and premieres. Our walls welcome art to hang with us, too.
Since opening, our home has grown tremendously. Our in-store calendar continues to cook and our stock stays replenished with bin burners, abstract and in tact books, strange crafts, and trusted tinctures. Last year, we oversaw three Commend See collaborations alone, bringing six different visual artists and musicians together to create works specifically for our space.
With all of this activity and growth, our floors have suffered the consequences of increased foot traffic and frequent events. The rubbers panels are lifting up into the floor heavens:
Our space needs new material to tread and host. When considering the 'How?' of sourcing new flooring, we went deep in consideration of 'Why?', which blossomed into 'What's Next?' ~ this campaign is part of our answer to all three.
Beyond providing a structural and aesthetic boon to Commend, new floors will provide a more dynamic use for the storefront. Through this campaign, we plan to open up Commend as a meeting space to young non-profits for one Monday morning a month over the course of a year.
Between the hours of 9:30a - 12:00p, use our (new!) floors to develop world-changing endeavors; use our internet, our kettle, our bathroom and our - most of all - support and energy to keep your conversations glowing. We plan to begin a monthly Monday evening Town Hall meeting at Commend for communities to seek support, offer help, and foster love for one another. We need the L more than ever now.
Your investment will allow us to further nurture a safe space in the Lower East Side and develop initiatives to expand our support network beyond the New York City bubble. If you’ve picked up our Plant Parenthood or Healing The Nation pamphlets, you’ll have a good reference for more printed materials to come.
If our campaign goal exceeds expectations, we hope for a coat of new paint and to remove the big, bulky black “command station” in the middle of Commend to allow a freer flow of energy and exchange.
This campaign is just the beginning of a much larger conversation. We hope you join in.
Risks and challenges
The largest challenge comes from accommodating those who need a space to convene. We have limited the space to four groups so we can offer at least a year of consistency. We hope to evolve this beyond the year and foster a Monday meeting space for organizations as needed. No better time than now to help other communities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)