LOOKIN’ GOOD — The Art’s Cafe’s 5 East Main St. facade was recently updated to include contributions from the local community, additional painting and printouts of comments made on the center for the arts’ Indiegogo fundraiser. Photo by Sandy Dashnaw.
SPRINGVILLE — With more than a full day to spare, the Springville Center for the Arts hit its $30,000 target on the fundraising site Indiegogo, on Friday, Oct. 19.
According to SCA Executive Director Seth Wochensky, between online offerings and checks dropped off at the SCA, more than $38,000, in total, was raised for the future Art’s Cafe, which will be located at the currently distressed 5 East Main St. in Springville.
The center for the arts’ Indiegogo campaign was live online for 30 days and had a $30,000 goal. If the public did not contribute at least that much money, by the end of the 30 days, the SCA would have received no funding.
While he said that predicting the outcome of the campaign “was always anyone’s guess,” Wochensky added that he and everyone else involved with the SCA worked hard to raise awareness about the fundraiser and the Art’s Cafe endeavor.
“I’ve never spent so much time online,” he said, with a laugh. “Everyone was obsessively checking [the donation total]. People would tell me that they would check the site, first thing in the morning, after they woke up.”
Individuals, who donated amounts between $5 and $1,000, gave many contributions to the SCA. According to comments posted on Indiegogo, contributors from as far away as the United Kingdom and Russia – by a former exchange student who had visited Springville – gave toward the Springville endeavor. “Most were connected, in some way, to Springville, but a few just saw the campaign online and contributed,” Wochensky said. The remarks posted on the Art’s Cafe Indiegogo site were printed out and posted onto the facade art on the front of 5 East Main St.
According to Wochensky, many community members stopped by the SCA, on especially the last two days of the campaign, to personally drop off their donations, and Wochensky said that a “steady stream” of money came in, during the final hours.
Many organizations, as well, banded together to contribute and it was a group – the Kiwanis Club of Springville – that posted the amount that pushed the campaign over its target $30,000 mark. Another group, this one located in Pennsylvania, donated toward the Art’s Cafe and commented that its members were working on a rehabilitation project of their own and were hoping to get an Indiegogo campaign off the ground, sometime in the near future.
In total, Wochensky estimated that approximately one-third of the donations, in both donor number and amount, came from outside the Springville area. “The other two-thirds were from the arts center’s usual target area,” he said.
“This has been a real education for me,” he added. “I have been schooled in traditional fundraising and this threw all of that out the window.” Contributors could make donations of any amount and received “perks” for their trouble – goodies including free coffee, T-shirts, travel mugs and more, depending on the amount given. “It’s remarkable what some people gave,” Wochensky said. “It was very touching.”
Wochensky said that the campaign was a testimony to a community’s coming together in support of a local effort. “I hope that people continue to see the project as a community project,” he said. “We are nowhere near the end of this project.”
The money raised by the Indiegogo campaign, as well as several matching grants, some of which have already been guaranteed for the Art’s Cafe, and some which have not yet been announced, will go toward steel shoring on the building’s walls. “It’s a race against the weather,” Wochensky said, stressing that, before any other work is done on the building, steel shoring must be completed. But he added, “We are not behind, at all.”
An engineer from Springville’s RJR Engineering is currently working on a shoring design for the building. Steel will be cut and used to stabilize the building for demolition. Following the shoring, and after the demolition is bid out and a roof is placed on the building, the internal work will commence in full force and is slated to continue, throughout the winter. Commenting on the demolition, Wochensky said, “It is so dangerous and complicated. The potential for liability is astronomical.”
While the Indiegogo campaign has been raising money for the steel shoring, volunteers have already been hard at work, salvaging what they could from inside 5 East Main St., before everything else is scrapped.
An original sign was pulled from the bowels of the building, as well as doors, glass, sinks and pieces of the old, tin ceiling. Wochensky said that as much as possible will be utilized in the cafe’s design, and labels will be placed on all of the salvaged pieces, to note their historical values.
Many individuals have stepped up to volunteer for the Art’s Cafe, for its present renovations or eventual operations. “It’s a very exciting thing,” Wochensky said. “Three hundred donors, $38,000 and 30 days. This is huge. It shows people really care about their downtown.”
PayPal™ donations are being accepted at www.artscafespringville.com
. Checks can be made payable to the Springville Center for the Arts, designated for the Art’s Cafe and sent to 37 North Buffalo St., Springville, NY 14141.