Community Supported Arts

How many times have you seen free music in our community?  We have a rich music scene in Cedar Mountain.  The musicians who improve our quality of life do so sometimes at their expense.  We recently had some heart to heart conversations with our staff musicians and what we heard was distressing, even though we pay above a “living wage”.

We need to provide a better quality of life for our community entertainers.

As a result of our conversations, John and I have decided to “sell” the Canteen to our employees.  We are converting to a worker-owned cooperative and our staff who opt to become owners will profit share and benefit at a deeper level from the funds you spend at the Canteen.  They also are becoming more involved in the management of the Canteen and the results are heartwarming and exciting!

There are so many hours we are not open because John and I are doing all we can do.  As we bring on new owners our offerings are expanding and our venue will be opened more and be providing additional opportunities for our patrons to participate in the arts from music to visual to culinary.

For example, Owen Grooms is now teaching music lessons at the Canteen.

Something else amazing is happening…

We have been approached by community members who want to pay for musicians to perform at the Canteen.  Seriously.  We have been contacted by artists who want to play in our Listening Room who honestly we can not afford to pay.  As a result we are starting a new program called Community Supported Arts where community members can bring in artists they want to share with the community.  Community members can sponsor the entire show or contribute to a pool to help us bring in additional artists and to also increase the money we pay our community artists so they can save for retirement, for example.

We have had a lot of conversations across the bar about this concept and the support is overwhelming.  We are still working out the details and have been having conversations with our worker-owner conversion team.

The other day we were contacted by a patron who wanted to support the group Small Town Strings.  They are traveling through the area on Fathers Day and she asked if we could host their show.  She offered to sponosor their fee and after a conversation with their agent, we negotiated the contract details and now the show is a reality.

About Small Town Strings

Small Town Strings is a brother sister duo from a tiny, rural Washington town called Curlew.  They are young and talented.  As you watch their video above you will notice in one of the clips they are singing with Brandi Carlile, their aunt.  Beautiful voices obviously run in the family.

They are performing at the Canteen (after our Mountain Music Jam) on Sunday, June 18th from 6 – 8 pm  We are excited about all of this!

Another Community Supported Arts Show

We have actually already booked a Community Supported Arts Show and were planning on unveiling the concept and show details during our Labor Day weekend festival.  Now that Small Town Strings has added another sponsored show to our calendar, we have decided to share the details of the show now.

Sarah Siskind will be performing at the Canteen Wednesday October 25th.  This will be an intimate show with Sarah and we are opening our doors on an evening we are normally closed in order to host the performance.  We are excited to host Sarah and grateful for the opportunity to bring her gifts to our community.  We will share more details soon.

Next steps

There is a lot going on behind the scenes at the Canteen as we work with our consulting team on converting to worker ownership and a community sponsored arts program.  We are interested in your thoughts.  We are putting together a focus group of sorts and would love to  hear from you.  If you are interested in participating, please let us know!

We are so grateful to be in this community.