Community Arts Center Being Formed
The Center came about as a result of the coffee house being forced to close due to financial constraints in April.
“We had met up with some business specialists and they were talking to me about what they were doing and both of them said that the arts were always subsidized and never have to pay their way,” said Kenneth Brown, co-owner of the coffee house. “They suggested that we do away with the area where we were doing concerts, plays; etc. and create a non-profit.”
A banker and other individuals have gathered together to collaborate with the project in the works which will result in Brown sub-leasing the coffee house.
“Basically we’ll be doing things that we had been doing but with a lot of support,” said Brown. “People are very supportive of what we’re doing. The artists are excited about it because it’s something for them.”
Brown said the fundraising just began so it is kind of early to tell how it’s going.
“The overhead was just more than we could do,” he said. “Had it just been the front area we probably would’ve been breaking even. The business was growing and doing well for the business but it was just the overhead was just way more than we could absorb.”
The coffee house staff has until July 15th to get to where they feel that the Center will have the funds to actually pay for the facility, not just for a month at a time, according to Brown. The amount of $50,000 has to be raised before the cutoff date. For this to happen 250 people would need to give gifts of $50, another 250 would need to donate $100, and 25 donors giving the amount of $500 or more. Corporate sponsors are also needed.
Brown said it was his first time running a coffee house, something that he and his wife Pamela talked about doing 29 years ago.
“Once we got into the building it kind of mutated into something bigger than we had imagined because the facility was so big,” he said. “One of the problems was that. Another was producing 20 something shows per month. Me, my wife, and daughter (Christina) were doing everything. We were way overworked.”
Brown said the Center will have a larger-based base now and they are looking for volunteers to help out.
“Because we’re having to create everything it wasn’t until last week that we kind of finalized the mission statement and philosophy,” he said. “We have the DBA, bank account, and filed all the paperwork for a non-profit organization. There’s just a multitude we had to deal with and get things together. When you file initial paperwork for a nonprofit it’s kind of like a provisional – as long as this is what you’re doing it’s usually about four months for the IRS determination. But normally what happens with a lot of nonprofits is they do it themselves without attorneys and make mistakes, then they have to go back and redo it. We’re using an attorney. “
Brown said his goal is to make the Center a long-term venue for the city focused on area artists so everything they do there has local talent.
“We’ve always had people from Dallas, too,” he said. “We focused on Fort Worth but the boundaries were always for the local guy.”
Brown said the coffee house was family-friendly and still will be a nice atmosphere where people of all ages are comfortable. He described the musical and artistic tastes as fairly eclectic then and now.
“Because we actually came close to pulling it off, from a business standpoint and this is what every small business goes through is just that we were under funded to start with,” said Brown. “We probably should have had more money until profitability because what we were trying to do is such a community endeavor and since it involved so many classes, films, and shows. We were doing so many shows. What we were doing was kind of unique because it involved all the arts and it was such a large facility. I think that pretty much that people enjoy the idea of a coffeehouse that is not just a hit and run place.”
Brown said he thinks there is a place for a facility where individuals, couples, and families can “kind of hang out and enjoy being exposed to music and the arts and things.”
“That would be one of the things that would be different about what we were doing is that we were a place for people to hang out,” he said. “We even had more things to layer into what we were doing; it’s just that we didn’t have the manpower and finances to do what we had in mind, which was kind of our frustration. We really do need the support of people. Every little bit helps to create the funds needed to make this happen. I think this is something that can be a long-term asset to the community.”
Donors should make checks payable to the Community Arts Center of South West Fort Worth and mail to Box 470333, Fort Worth, TX 76147.
For those who help the Center get “the jump-start” they need they will be granted membership rights and privileges and will be invited to an exclusive grand opening jam fest and free party.
For more information, call 817-292-5704 or go to artisticblends.com.