Ian MacKaye is taking part in a live Zoom Q&A on Thursday in support of Seattle’s VERA project’s 20th Anniversary fundraising efforts. Join the livestream for a what you can afford donation. This Seattle based institution hopes to raise $500,000 by the end of the 2021 to find their work for another 20 years.
The Vera Projects is the sort of place you wish you’d got in your home town. An all-ages not for profit entity, engaging people with music and art. It’s a venue, a recording studio, an art gallery and a hub for Seattle’s creative community. Their outreach programs are literally astonishing, look at their website here. The venue has nurtured Northwest artists such as Fleet Foxes, The Gossip, Macklemore and Car Seat Headrest at the start of their careers and has hosted major acts like TV on the Radio, Sleater Kinney, The Shins, PUP, Rico Nasty, Pussy Riot, and The Evens when they first began to tour.
I've read that an all ages gig venue was formed in a response to a Seattle city ordinance prohibiting minors - people under 18 from dancing. This might be apocryphal on my part but I'm hoping you'll check for yourself. This from the venue... "VERA was founded in 2001 by activists Shannon Stewart, James Keblas and Kate Becker. Its creation was largely in response to the Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO), a controversial piece of Seattle legislation enacted in 1985 that essentially banned all-ages and youth-driven concerts by making events with attendees under 18 prohibitively expensive and logistically difficult to produce. In 2002, under the civic pressure from the same community leaders who helped open the doors to VERA a year earlier, the City Council repealed the TDO."
Ian MacKaye needs no introduction. Here’s one anyway. He has operated Dischord Records for 40 years, a label he and his friends began to document their punk music scene in Washington DC. MacKaye’s bands- Minor Threat, Fugazi, Coriky and The Evens are widely popular and influential. He has remained steadfastly true to his original independent ideals. Dischord records are less expensive to buy. The label once turned down a $10,000,000 deal from a major record label to keep on the path of self-determination - $5 gig tickets, $8 CDs… I probably made more from selling a Minor Threat CD that Ian MacKaye did, and the money made was reinvested in documenting music in DC.
Twenty years is a massive time for an arts based existence, The Vera Project is an all-ages nonprofit space dedicated to fostering personal and community transformation through collaborative, youth-driven engagement in music and art. A music venue, screen print shop, recording studio, art gallery, and safe space for radical self-expression, VERA is a home to Seattle’s creative community.
I sense right now there are a lot of people wanting to get into the post covid community arts space, The Vera Project and Ian MacKaye offer excellent examples of how to do it right. Listen in.
enjoy The Evens