Raising the Money
We spent a lot of time making our event as cost effective as possible, we obtained as much in free help as we could, used as many recycled materials as we could and held our own fund-raising activities.
There was one main obstacle we came up against time and time again in terms of funding. We were all students and this excluded us to all forms of grants and pots of money such Arts Council funding. From what we understand this is legislation due to the fact we all had student loans. This fact was certainly a kick in the gut as we had designed our event to appeal to both Arts organisations as well as Community organisations, neither of which could aid us Financially. So being students made it hard to get some people to buy into the project, we learned to only present ourselves as a student group when it would benefit the project and to always be as professional as we could. Most the time we were learning and making it up as we went along.
On the flip side being students meant other people would give us time and support. Plus we had the AUCB behind us who supported the project by providing use of a van and print rooms and provided us with paints, materials and most importantly advice. Not to mention the very importantly public liability insurance cover, which otherwise would have been another sum of money that we would have to raise.
Even with this support we need to make money, quite a bit of money. All the little things just add up, plus we would need to rent a shop space!
We all believed in the project so we decided to put £100 in each to get the fund started.
We had to become capitalists…
Mooshie Taboo was born, Ellie and Patrick came up with some beautiful design and we spent loads of money on some cheap good quality T-shirt and canvas bags. Then after a week of hard work in the studio screen printing and sewing in labels it was time to sell… and they did… people loved the designs and slowly we we made £100 profit to add to the ‘Shop’ fund.
We raised another £400 from a spectacular cardboard house party by charged £2 entrance fee.
Never has one house been so covered in cardboard. It took weeks to collect enough cardboard and then about 3 days of frantic activity to kit out the house but it was worth it. It became a different world inside with walls, ceilings and floors to draw on, UV paint, neon lights and live music. It was the perfect way to raise money for an immersive art event, making another new totally immersive experience!
Finally things were going well, and having enter the BBC Radio Solent Community Chest scheme months earlier more good news came when we were invited to present our project on the radio! listen here to hear us bumble our way through an interview on the Katie Martin Show. We were nervous and talked over each other but we see it as one of our many learning curves. Coherent or not we were awarded £250 towards funding the project.
Getting The Space
This was the hardest part of making ‘Shop’ a reality. Martin was the man for this mammoth task and subsequently spent most of his time chasing up contact and make numerous enquiries for empty shop spaces. Often the obstacles of inexperience and the fact that we were typecast as untrustworthy students were big barriers we had to get over.
Quiet quickly it became obvious that we were caught in a chicken and egg scenario, we couldn’t obtain the space without the event to put in it and we couldn’t develop an event without knowing what space we could use. This left us in an awkward and fragile position, as the potential venue changed, so did our ideas and practical needs.
Firstly he found it difficult talking with estate agents in practical terms, as the truth was we would have to design our ambitions around the available space. We came into contact with many people and organisations, very few of them could commit to anything and most opportunities fell through,. We all found this particularly disconcerting, having to flip flop around from possibility to possibility. One moment ‘Shop’ was going to take place in Poole, the next Winton highstreet. At one point we had an offer of space in London’s Selfridges!
Juggling all of it at the same time was a difficult task and at points we began to forget who we were talking to, we struggled to keep our optimism and the project a float.
In the end it was thanks to an agent at Ellis and Partners that we landed a space for ‘Shop’, it was through lengthy discussion that we came to the conclusion that our project appealed to their desire to regenerate the local area with an event of public interest. That this event was mutually positive and to our huge relief we able to use the space just over a week and a half and all we had to pay for this great empty shell of a retail space was a small to cover electricity usage.