THANK YOU TO OUR BACKERS: Bruce Allardice and Victoria Abrash, Martita Abril, luciana achugar, Gerri Adams, Roya Amirsoleymani, Pieter Ampe, Jonathan Anders, Renée Archibald, Estelle Woodward Arnal and Jeff Arnal, Linda Austin, Anna Azrieli, Ilan Bachrach, Adam Chocolate Sauce Baer, Karen Fitzgerald and Paul Baietto, Maria Baranova-Suzuki, Christopher Barnett, Kimberly Bartosik, Astami and Chan Bekti, Meredith Belis, Lydia Bell, Jessica Bender, Jodi Bender, Karen Bernard, Rachel Bernsen, Ron Berry, Josh Bielak, Melissa Bieri, Linda Birkedal / Molitrix Scenekunst, Sarah Hromack and Tei Blow, Katherine Profeta and Steve Bodow, Erin Bomboy, Michelle Boulé, Rebecca Breheney, Betsey Brock, Rebecca Brooks, Matthew Brookshire, Bruce L. Brown, Chloë Z. 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Ok, so: announcement time. We just launched a kickstarter campaign, to raise money for the renovation of our new building. I have a few things to say about this. Mostly, I hope you will give our campaign a minute of attention, and support it in any way you can. But also: I am very deeply conscious of the role kickstarter (and the other crowdfunding platforms) plays in the economy of making and supporting work by independent artists. We have never wanted to interfere or compete with artists who are merely trying to fill in the gaps. I have always been suspicious-bordering-on-cynical about institutional crowdfunding, with the very notable exception of the Invisible Dog, whose annual campaign feels honest and legitimate and necessary to me. But look: we’re in a special situation. We bought a building. We are beyond grateful to the City of New York and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Borough President Melinda Katz and the DCA and the EDC and the many many forces that helped to make this happen for us and for the artist community. Of course, we worked ourselves nearly to death in the process, but that’s a different story for a different day. We own this building, it’s dirty and beautiful and now we have to renovate it. We want this to happen (relatively) quickly so that we can continue our work without interruption. And crucially, we need to do this in our own way. We want to preserve the character and the spirit of this place. So we are going it, to some degree, alone. Compared to many of the big(ger) venues in New York, our plans are ridiculously modest. We have received some very significant financial commitments from New York State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, and the Howard Gilman Foundation, with hopefully more to come. But we still have our own gap to fill; and I believe this to be a unique and special opportunity to make this project happen in a community-minded way. The Chocolate Factory is my baby. It’s Sheila’s baby too. Madeline has her own babies to worry about. This is our life’s work. I’m not gonna pretend that I don’t feel ownership of this. But if you take a step back it’s not hard to see that The Chocolate Factory belongs to its community of artists, to Long Island City, to New York, to everyone who had or has or will have a stake in its survival. This city needs The Chocolate Factory, I believe this more than anything, and we are on the precipice of making it, for lack of a better word, permanent. With any luck it will outlive me. So that’s why we’ll be doing a kickstarter campaign. We won’t make a habit of it, I promise!