IndieSpace and Indie Theater Fund announce that they will merge into one company, IndieSpace.
To celebrate the merger, they will be hosting a party with a wedding ceremony, bringing together artists, community members, funders and donors to celebrate the community’s recent achievements, look forward to the future of IndieSpace and share this moment with people enjoy who are there to ensure that indie theater continues to thrive. The event will take place on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
IndieSpace and the Indie Theater Fund had a lot in common: they serve the same community, share the same executive director and, most importantly, value and prioritize the same things. With the merger of the two organizations there will be an expanded capacity to service hundreds of more artists annually by taking double the administrative hours and dollars and putting it directly into programming.
“As executive director and co-founder of IndieSpace and the Indie Theater Fund, I’m thrilled that our merger that we’ve been working towards for years is finally official,” said Randi Berry. “The work of both organizations has had an incredible impact on this vital part of the theater ecosystem, and this merger will greatly increase our capacity and allow us to serve exponentially more artists. Indie theater will be central to NYC’s recovery, and IndieSpace intends to be there every step of the way with the artists we serve.”
“I have a strong belief that the initiatives of our merged organizations are leading the movement to preserve and strengthen the independent theater community and ultimately the entire New York theater ecosystem at large,” said Raquel Almazan, co-chair of the board. “The fund has made important contributions to both individual artists and companies at crucial times to break down barriers to entry experienced by theater professionals. I’m inspired by this merger’s growing capacity to support even more artists and companies, and I’m honored to be part of this radical movement that is coalescing into a more equitable and resourceful field.”
“Finding decent and affordable rehearsal and theater space has always been a challenge in New York’s perpetually tough real estate market, but the misconception that artists will always find a way lingers,” said Paul Leibowitz, co-chair of the board. “We founded IndieSpace to address these issues and I am grateful that this wonderful community has embraced our efforts. We are all excited that the merger gives us more opportunities to create and secure real estate solutions, funding and resources for the indie theater community.”
The Indie Theater Fund was formed as the LIT Fund, inspired by an idea by Judith Malina and Brad Burgess, and was originally housed within the League of Independent Theatre. It became its own organization in 2012 and focused on a new model to fund the indie theater community. By contributing a nickel per ticket of their shows to a fundraising fundraiser, the indie theater community could establish a method of self-sustainability and rethink philanthropy and the process of awarding grants. Since 2012, the Indie Theater Fund has supported hundreds of indie theater groups and thousands of individual artists with radically transparent and equitable grants, community resources and advocacy.
The Indie Theater Fund began providing five $1,000 grants per year and will provide fifty $1,000 grants in 2021. It (in partnership with IndieSpace) provided over $1.5 million in relief grants to artists, small businesses, and independent venues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund also launched a mental health program that has helped over 200 artists; directed several coalition-based funding programs, including the Cultural Solidarity Fund, the AAPI Transportation Fund, and the DCLA City Artist Corps grants; and provided hundreds of hours of professional development to individuals and small businesses who cannot directly afford these services, with a focus on fundraising, budgeting, marketing, anti-racism and anti-oppression training.
IndieSpace was founded in 2016 to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and address systemic injustices in New York’s real estate sector. IndieSpace’s role was to support independent venues faced with a property move, challenge or opportunity and help them find lasting solutions. IndieSpace helps arts organizations take root and grow. Since its inception, IndieSpace has: advised more than 70 venues on real estate decisions, including The Tank, Frigid NY, The Chain, the wild project, Wooster Group and Classical Theater of Harlem; helped 18 organizations sign new leases; saved seven theaters from closure or rededication; formed four real estate operating partnerships; ran a venue through the purchase of her new home; co-founded a rehearsal space cooperative on a 99-year lease; and helped over 50 venues manage their leases during Covid by helping them stay open. IndieSpace received the Ellen Stewart Award and a New York City Council Mention for its service to the community. IndieSpace also worked with Community Board 2 to negotiate a permanent space for the cultural community on a new development on Gansevoort Street that will partner with HERE, the New Ohio and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.