The Future of The Warming House
Being closed has offered The Warming House an opportunity to examine community feedback and dig into our desire to make positive changes to our organization. Among the changes we are embracing – we are excited to announce that we are in search of a new location! We remain a 501(c)(3) organization and will keep offering shows and community events online while we search for a new space that will serve the community better. As part of the process during this transition, we will be gathering feedback from you over the next few months to help shape our future. We appreciate your support.
July 1st, 2020
Dear friends, family, fans – the community that is The Warming House,
The Warming House is so grateful for your continued support. We opened four years ago with quite a lot of planning, passion, and love for songs. In this rock and roll town we found the need for a quiet place to listen to singer/songwriters – a room with a small capacity that feels like a house concert. We opened in the basement of a bike shop because the rent was manageable and the space was pretty unique. We opened with a basic desire – to be a place where musicians can share songs and know they’re being heard, and where music fans can enjoy songs in a space where they know they can hear every note and every lyric. We established The Warming House as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a simple mission:
The Warming House develops and promotes the appreciation of folk, singer-songwriter, Americana, and similar music as an art form through education, performance, exhibition and related activities. It fosters these musical arts by inspiring and engaging its participants and audiences to listen to, create, perform and enjoy compelling musical performances and creations. It creates access for musicians and others of all levels and backgrounds, educates and enriches the public’s connection with musical arts experiences and contributes to the cultural vitality of the community. The Warming House teaches, mentors and provides outreach, educational programs and broad community access to the performance space.
In March we were forced to close due to the increasing dangers of COVID-19. Although it was really heartbreaking to close our doors we knew it was needed and we were, and still are, more than ok with our decision. Since closing we have connected with many small venues around the country to see what they are doing to stay alive and we are learning about their reopening plans. Some presenters are hopeful that small venues will be back up and running by the fall. We are less hopeful.
Due to the small size of our venue there is no way to open at half or even 25% capacity and still socially distance within our walls. Reducing the audience size also greatly reduces our ability to pay our musicians what they deserve yet still cover our operating expenses. Reality is sinking in and it is clear to us that we won’t be able to open in our same location until there is a COVID-19 vaccine and who knows when that will be. This reality has got us thinking…
Over the past four years we have listened to the musicians we hosted and our patrons about what they liked and what they found challenging about our space. Folks like most of what we had going on. Two of the most repeated challenges were 1. The lack of beer and wine and more importantly 2. The lack of wheelchair accessibility.
We put time and research into adding beer and wine sales and making our space more accessible to all. It became clear to us that we would need to change locations and invest significant funds to make either of those things a reality.
Now here we are, closed to the public, still aching to get back to being in a room with strangers and friends, listening to songs and stories, hearing ALL the frequencies, and clapping and laughing together!
Being closed has offered us an opportunity to examine community feedback and dig into our desire to make positive changes to our organization. We will not reopen in our current location. We have made the difficult, necessary, yet exciting decision to seek a new location for The Warming House.
By opening in a different location we can address the need for greater accessibility and we can add more hospitality like beer and wine. We can also address the need for social distancing, good ventilation, and other factors that would make our space safer with regard to COVID-19 and similar health matters in the future. Finding a new location that meets our needs may take some time. We appreciate your patience and continued support.
Right now we are in continued conversations with the board about where to move and what the space would need to be like. We have high hopes that we will find the support and the space that will address all of our needs but still have the heart-warming feel of our former basement digs. We want to remain relatively small in capacity, improve upon our already well-received programming, and continue to serve our mission as being a welcoming space for our patrons, music learners, music professionals and everyone in between.
We want to thank Farmstead Bike Shop for taking over our portion of the lease as well as all of the utilities. Please support them with all your bike needs. We also want to thank all of our members, patrons, and performing artists for your continued support. The Warming House will remain a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. While we are in search of a new home we will be streaming shows, hosting community events online, and exploring other ways to share songs and build community safely and thoughtfully while recognizing the limitations caused by COVID-19. Please keep in touch, keep writing songs, keep listening to great music, and take care of yourselves and others.
The Warming House Crew