The DIVA has been busy! And so many of you have joined us on our journey. For that, we are so grateful, and we appreciate your enthusiasm for our future plans. Here’s an update on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
Our interim stage (complete with a ramp to make it accessible to everyone) is being used once a month for regular first Friday performances of the Department of Improv (tickets available), our locally-sourced improv troupe trained up thanks to a generous grant from the Wayne County Foundation.
Even with a modest ticket price, the income from this internal production is giving us the opportunity to make some pretty exciting plans for the future. We have already been able to install a wire wall hanging system for visual artists to exhibit their work. We have immediate plans to acquire the appropriate venue licensing for music performance. And with a little extra funding from our friends, we are close to the point of being able to purchase expandable systems for lighting and sound.
All of these acquisitions are making it possible for more and more of you to unleash your inner DIVA. We’re getting there bit by bit, and with each piece we hope to make the process of creating art for art’s sake more accessible to you in this unique community space.
What’s the next big step? A total remodel of the whole thing. On the third floor of our building, there’s a large open ballroom space that’s just perfect for DIVA. Built in 1878, the building needs a lot of help to make it 21st-century friendly. Thanks to your support and encouragement, we’ve been able to start the planning process. Check out this very early initial concept drawing and ideas for part of this project.
Included in these plans are:
- A visual art exhibit hall and intimate performance space;
- A recording studio;
- A community conference and meeting room;
- A large, open, accessible performance hall with fully configurable and versatile seating, staging, lighting, and sound; and
- A rooftop deck.
This is all for YOU. While we will continue to produce our own internal offerings, the main focus is DIVA as a community builder and barrier remover. You can use it to produce a play you’ve always wanted to be in, perform a series of your own musical compositions, or exhibit a series of original watercolors. You can use it for your arts group to hold business meetings. You can use it to organize an open-mic night or a poetry slam. You can use it to perform your original one-woman monologue or assemble a group of musician friends to perform a single piece for an audience of one … or an audience of many.
You can use it to unleash your inner DIVA. Whatever it is that means to you.
To get there, we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re loving every minute of it. And we’ve just been overwhelmed by your words of excitement and encouragement, your laughter and camaraderie at improv shows, and your very generous financial support.
As you continue to consider your year-end charitable giving, please keep DIVA in mind. We will need to find funding from a wide variety of sources to make all of the DIVA’s dreams come true. But overall, your support comes in many forms, and we appreciate every bit of it. Stay tuned!