Local musicians are in the final stages of a fundraising push to build a massive cooperative in the heart of Indianapolis, complete with recording studios, rehearsal space and a performance venue available at a fraction of the normal cost.
The Indianapolis Music Cooperative would include two studios, seven rehearsal spaces and areas for songwriting and classes stretched across a 6,000 square foot warehouse within the Circle City Industrial Complex. Artists would be able to purchase tiered plans for $25, $100 or $200 per month that would grant 24/7 access to the new shared facility.
“You don’t have to be a bona fide platinum artist, or you don’t have to sell out the Hi-Fi to come be a part of this,” said founder Kai McGinnis, a local publicist who also co-founded the nearby Soundspace project, which served as the concept for the much-larger cooperative plan.
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Plans for an adjacent, 750-person, 4,000-square-foot venue space have already been fully funded.
“We’ve tied in this ecosystem (where) you can connect, you can write your songs, you can then rehearse and demo them in the studio,” McGinnis said. “And when you’re ready, you can also perform right next door.”
The project is seeking $50,000 in crowdfunding by Nov. 3. If it reaches the goal, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority have pledged to match the entire amount through the CreatINg Places program.
“This community space is a wonderful way for musicians in Indianapolis to explore their passion,” Crouch said in a statement. “We want to provide a space for Hoosiers to learn, grow and record great music for years to come.”
As of Tuesday, it had raised just over $29,000. McGinnis said failing to reach the goal, and thus missing out on the matching state grant, would not necessarily doom the project, but it would be “a setback.”
In addition to the crowdfunding and possible state match, the Herbert Simon Family Foundation and Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation also provided donations for undisclosed amounts.
In-person listening events, online surveys and canvassing by local artists to measure the artistic needs of local neighborhoods informed the cooperative’s planning, McGinnis said.
Richard “Sleepy” Floyd, a drummer who also produces and promotes in the local scene, has joined McGinnis as a founding team member.
Floyd said the cooperative’s low cost “eliminates a huge barrier” to local artists who are just starting out.
The cooperative will also provide music education space for the community that does not currently exist, Floyd said.
Advisers who’ve signed on to help the project include Indiana Fever general manager and former WNBA star Tamika Catchings; poet, writer and hip-hop emcee Manon Voice and local jazz fixture Rob Dixon.
“The fact that this place is a rehearsal space and a recording studio and a place where musicians can gather — it just really propels the scene forward,” said Dixon, a saxophonist and the artistic director for the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation.
“I can see that in other cities like New Orleans, Austin and Seattle,” Dixon continued. “There have always been places there where bands have been able to congregate, and that’s really helped push their music scenes forward and make their cities significant as like a music city.”
“Indianapolis has a wealth of talent as far as musicians, and this is just a piece of the puzzle that was missing.”
Rory Appleton is the pop culture reporter at IndyStar. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.