Rumor Has It
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
It is never easy or simple to be a scrappy all-ages space that serves many different groups and purposes, but these days a whole lot of things are coming up Make.Shift and I love to see it.
First, after a crowdfunding campaign and a huge amount of support from the community, the nonprofit was able to replace its janky and potentially dangerous front walkway with a newfangled ramp complete with railings and a surface that won’t send you slipping onto your hind-half while you’re just trying to load your gear and mind your own business. Along with the 50-plus donors who helped fund the new ramp, special thanks must be given to local band and Make.Shift tenants Slothmonger for going above and beyond to help with installation in the cold and dark of night in order to have it in place before Bellingham’s recent snowstorm. Make.Shift truly is a community unto itself, never more so than when it has to pull together to address an urgent situation.
In further good news for the organization, they were awarded a $15,000 donation by the Mary H. Storer Foundation at the dawn of 2020. I don’t know who Mary H. Storer is or why she has so much money to spread around, but that large of a donation for a nonprofit like Make.Shift is definitely sustaining if not game-changing. Along with providing necessary (so very necessary) rehearsal and studio spaces for local bands, artists, artisans, craftspeople and all kinds of makers of things; operating a gallery that regularly features art by folks who don’t often score gallery space; and putting on all-ages shows in a safe, supportive space; Make.Shift also runs workshops and oversees an internship program, all the while having to respond and adapt to unanticipated events like basement flooding and the aforementioned janky outside ramp. If all that donation buys is a little freedom from constant financial pressure, that’s brain space that will be spent bettering the organization as a whole, so it’s money well spent. Thanks, Mary.
Speaking of safe, supportive Make.Shift experiences, on Sat., Feb. 8, a pair of events will take place at the nonprofit that are geared toward those who might not quite feel comfortable onstage just yet. At 3pm a “Raise the Mic” workshop led by Rick Chyme will “share tools and exercises that spark creativity and provide mentorship to young creatives,” using “meditation, free writing, cut ups, exploration, and group collaboration” to achieve that aim. That will be followed at 5pm by a “Teens Raise the Mic” open mic night, a joint venture of Make.Shift and Bellingham Parks and Rec. One need not participate in the free workshop in order to take part in the free open mic, and vice versa. All you have to do is be a young person with ideas to share or an audience member who wants to show support. No jerks allowed.