The two enterprises share similar purposes and values, serve the same community, and have the same executive director. The IndieSpace board said that by integrating the two groups, they can yearly support many more artists by channeling unnecessary administrative hours and monies into programming. On June 28, a "wedding" ceremony took place in Chelsea.
Randi Berry, executive director of IndieSpace and the Indie Theater Fund, said, "Our long-awaited merger is now official, and I'm thrilled. This combination will boost our capacity and allow us to help a substantially higher number of artists because both organizations have had such an outstanding influence on this essential part of the theatre ecology. Indie theater will be key to NYC's recovery, and IndieSpace will be there every step of the way."
In 2012, the Indie Theater Fund withdrew from the League of Independent Theater. The LIT Fund concept by Judith Malina and Brad Burgess inspired it. The independent theatrical community wanted to self-sustain by paying one cent from each ticket sold to a financing fund.
Since then, The Indie Theater Fund has offered funding, community tools, and advocacy to hundreds of tiny theater companies and thousands of artists. By 2021, the fund has increased from five to 50 $1,000 grants annually. During the COVID-19 outbreak, it contributed approximately $1.5 million to independent venues, small companies, and artists. Along with coalition-based funding programs including the Cultural Solidarity Fund, AAPI Transportation Fund, and DCLA City Artist Corps fellowships, the fund created a mental health program that has helped over 200 artists.
The fund has also provided hundreds of hours of fundraising, budgeting, marketing, anti-racism, and anti-oppression training to people and small businesses that cannot afford it.
IndieSpace was formed in 2016 to combat the eviction of small theaters and rectify fundamental inequalities in NYC real estate. IndieSpace helped indie venues find long-term real estate solutions.
IndieSpace has provided real estate advice to more than 70 venues, including The Tank, Frigid NY, The Chain, the wild project, Wooster Group, and Classical Theater of Harlem; assisted 18 organizations in signing new leases; prevented the closure or repurposing of seven theaters; established four partnerships for the operation of real estate; and guided one venue through the purchase of their new home.
IndieSpace worked with Community Board 2 to acquire a permanent home for the cultural community in a new Gansevoort Street building. 2019 IndieSpace budget: $64,500.
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