Moving to Bainbridge as a mixed-race family, we had consciously decided to trade our proximity to diversity for access to beauty and nature, but the trade left a larger hole than we were expecting. In New York City, exposure to races and ethnicities other than our own was not something we had to work towards. It was part of everyday life walking the streets, taking the subway, or eating out. Out of this exposure came familiarity, respect, connection, and compassion.
In our new beautiful bubble, I worried about how my children would gain such exposure. Given the commonplace fear and ignorance we are seeing in our world, in our community, and even in our local schools, it is imperative to look inward and ask the hard questions. How comfortable are our youth when interfacing with other races, genders, and ethnicities? Do we have blind spots of our own?
Now that I’ve been here a while, I know I’m not alone in my concern. When I mentioned my idea of using the performing arts to bridge this obvious diversity gap, my family, neighbors, and even strangers responded with a resounding note of support. There were also a fair share of warnings about how I’d have to compete for donations among the many impactful nonprofits on our island. My inner voice became too loud to ignore.
In a bid to foster curiosity & connection, WEAVE aims to provide affordable all-ages access and exposure to multicultural representation in our performing arts programming and a destination for artists who deserve generous hospitality, fair compensation, and connection with their audience. We spent our first year giving Rolling Bay Hall a bit of a facelift, acquiring permits and licenses, establishing relationships with vendors, hosting cutting-edge theatre productions, and presenting music from Burkina Faso, Brazil, Scotland, and Latin America. Our community rallied. The passion of our volunteers sustained the organization for over a year.
In 2020, our goal is to make sure more people know we’re here. We’d like to create a huge family of WEAVERS of all kinds who are drawn to our mission, who understand the dire need for another venue on Bainbridge, who are passionate about fostering connection through art, and who agree that our teens could really use more safe spaces to spend their time.
Our first season of performances all sold out. We had regulars at our weekly open mics. Theatre organizations were grateful to find a home for their non-mainstream productions. Clearly, WEAVE was filling a need.
Now that you’ve had a taste of what we accomplished in 2019, it is with humility and excitement that we ask you to become a WEAVER to help solidify this vision together for the benefit of us all. Advance social and economic justice in our community by helping us build a place where artists are valued, where everyone can access the arts, and where under-represented voices are centered and celebrated.
Please pull me aside and make sure we connect whenever you're at a WEAVE event. We look forward to building this venue with your help.
Executive Director, WEAVE Presents