Young Bloods Collective starts happy hours to support local artists, raise funds for BIPOC community members
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Young Bloods Collective Tiny Reps Happy Hours has a cute name but a very serious function.
The monthly Zoom chat is hosted by two of the collective’s board members and features an artistic guest. Not only does the guest share their story, but the discussion always turns to supporting the Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) in the local and national community as well as what can be done to work toward being anti-racist.
The happy hours are free and open to the public and are a relaxed way to discuss what creators can do to feel like they’re on the right side of history.
Board members Brie Kole and Danielle Zimmerer host the discussions at 6 p.m. the third Thursday of every month via Zoom. People can register to participate at youngbloodscollective.org/tinyreps.
“It’s not just when the protests were happening, this is a continual conversation,” said Sista Luna, the collective’s co-founder and board president. “It’s good to keep it a little more fresh even when the big events have quelled, but also recognizing that these conversations can be had, and you can bring creativity to it. There are lots of ways people integrate this work into how they show up in the world.”
The happy hours are free, but the goal is to raise money for the Tiny Reparations Fund, which the collective created last year. The fund will grant BIPOC community members in the Yampa Valley to help with expenses for mental or physical health services, bail, groceries, creative or business endeavors, education “and any other facets of non-white existence,” as said on the donations page which can be found at memberplanet.com/campaign/youngbloodscollective/tinyreparations. Almost $2,000 of the $5,000 goal has so far been raised.
“There’s a lot of services already existing, but there’s always situations and circumstances that have not been foreseen so we’re hoping to fill a little bit of the cracks here and there,” Luna said.
To help reach out to people eligible for the funds, the collective is planning to partner with other area organizations or nonprofits that already have experience in that field. Luna said, ideally, those funds could be distributed as early as February.
For those who want to continuously support the fund, they can set up a monthly donation of $18.65, a number that represents the year in which slavery was abolished through the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Navigating the pandemic
Young Bloods Collective is a membership-based arts community and has always prioritized in-person events and art exhibits for the members and creators. Of course, those have been prohibited by the pandemic.
The annual Speak performance was virtual, compiled of videos from each performer. The collective didn’t take part in the farmer’s market and cut back a lot of other typical events.
The collective was able to put together a virtual holiday market, something that members praised and were thankful for. Luna said the success of the virtual market encouraged the board to look into future online markets.
“We can’t take ticket sales. We set it up online. We promoted it, and our vendors promoted it,” Luna said. “It’s hard to track how many people stopped by. We have been getting feedback of folks seeing it that maybe wouldn’t have had geography been a limiting factor. It might be a little bit of an exchange.”
The 2021 Speak performance is planned to be virtual again, and with a huge chunk of the population now comfortable with Zoom, which was “new” during the 2020 performance, viewership could increase.
Submissions for the 2021 Speak performance are now open. This year’s theme is vulnerability.
“When we did it in the beginning of April, all of this was pretty new to everyone,” Luna said. “I feel like people are more comfortable with interacting, the interface and the technology.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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