IndieSpace and Indie Theater Fund Announce Merger and Celebratory Wedding

Contact Name:
Michelle Tabnick
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Things to do near Astoria, NY » Art » Performing-Arts

IndieSpace and Indie Theater Fund announce that they will be merging into one company, IndieSpace. As a celebration of the merger, they will host a party featuring a wedding ceremony where artists, community members, funders and donors come together to fete the community's recent accomplishments, look forward to the future of IndieSpace, and savor this moment with the people who ensure indie theater continues to thrive. The event will take place on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 6:30pm.


IndieSpace and the Indie Theater Fund had many commonalities: they serve the same community, share the same Executive Director and, most importantly, value and prioritize the same things. By merging the two organizations, there will be an expanded capacity to serve hundreds more artists on an annual basis by taking duplicative administrative hours and dollars and putting them directly into programming.


"As Executive Director and co-Founder of both IndieSpace and the Indie Theater Fund, I am thrilled that our merger, years in the making, is finally official," said Randi Berry. "The work of both organizations has had an incredible impact on this vitally important part of the theater ecosystem, and this merger will greatly increase our capacity, allowing us to serve exponentially more artists. Indie theater will be central to the recovery of NYC, and IndieSpace intends to be there with the artists we serve, every step of the way."


"I deeply believe that the initiatives of our merged organizations are leading the movement towards sustaining and strengthening the independent theatre community, and ultimately the entire ecosystem of NYC theatre at large," said Raquel Almazan, board co-chair. "The fund has provided vital contributions to both individual artists and companies at pivotal times to eliminate barriers of entry that are experienced by theatre makers. I'm inspired by the growing capacity of this merger to support even more artists and companies, and I'm honored to be a part of this radical movement to unite towards a more equitable and resourced field."


"Finding adequate and affordable rehearsal and theater space has always been a challenge in the forever-tough New York real estate market, but the misconception that artists will always find a way still persists," said Paul Leibowitz, board co-chair. "We founded IndieSpace to address these issues, and I am grateful to have experienced this wonderful community's embrace of our efforts. We are all excited that the merger will allow us more opportunities to create and secure real estate solutions, funding and resources for the indie theater community."


Indie Theater Fund was established as the LIT Fund, inspired by an idea of Judith Malina and Brad Burgess', and was originally housed within the League of Independent Theater. It became its own organization in 2012 and focused on a new model for funding the indie theater community. By contributing a nickel per ticket from their shows to a pot of money for funding, the indie theater community could create a method of self-sustainability, and could rethink philanthropy and the process of grant making. Since 2012 The Indie Theater Fund has supported hundreds of indie theater companies and thousands of individual artists with radically transparent and equitable grants, community resources and advocacy.


The Indie Theater Fund started by providing five $1,000 grants per year, and in 2021 provided fifty $1,000 grants. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it provided over $1.5M (in collaboration with IndieSpace) in relief grants to artists, small companies and indie venues. The Fund also started a Mental Health program that has served over 200 artists; lead 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 companies that cannot afford those services directly, focused on fundraising, budgeting, marketing, anti-racism and anti-oppression trainings.


IndieSpace was established in 2016 to disrupt the ongoing displacement of small theaters and to address systemic inequities in NYC real estate. IndieSpace's role was to support indie venues facing a real estate transition, challenge, or opportunity, and help them create permanent solutions. IndieSpace helps arts organizations plant roots and grow. Since its founding, IndieSpace has: consulted with 70+ venues making 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 being closed or repurposed; created four real estate operation partnerships; walked one venue through the purchase of their new home; co-established a rehearsal space co-op in a 99-year lease; and, during Covid, supported over 50 venues navigating their leases by helping them stay open. For service to the community, IndieSpace received the Ellen Stewart Award and a citation from the City Council of New York. IndieSpace also worked with Community Board 2 to negotiate a permanent space for the cultural community in a new development on Gansevoort Street, which it will co-operate with HERE, the New Ohio and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.

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