Photo by Anthony Souffle.
It’s not fun by any stretch, but at least it's no longer a crisis.
Intermedia Arts, the Minneapolis multi-arts organization that revealed its fiscal trouble 18 months ago, has repaid its debtors after selling its building in the trendy Lyn-Lake neighborhood. Now its board, down to five members, is calling on stakeholders to help it decide what to do with the $1.5 million it netted after balancing its checkbook.
For 44 years, Intermedia Arts served vulnerable populations such as immigrants, people of color, and gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex people. Now the organization has issued a request for proposals for “a comprehensive report about the current state/needs of the arts community that [Intermedia] has traditionally served.” It is seeking recommendations for the “highest and best use” of the proceeds from the sale of the building.
“We all have our desires and aspirations about what’s possible, but we want to hear from the community, our stakeholders,” said board co-chair Omar Akbar by phone Tuesday. “We want a report that’s really useful and that will serve the arts community beyond Intermedia.”
Akbar said that there's an open question concering Intermedia’s next steps. Broadly, an organization that has faced such an existential crisis can go in three directions: It can re-constitute itself as an itinerant outfit, like Patrick’s Cabaret has done. It can get another home, whether permanent or temporary. Or it can simply go out of business.
“I don’t think anyone is interested in being itinerant,” said Akbar, who did not address the other two ideas as he waits for community input. “As board members with limited capacity, we still have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization and this process is part of that.”
As to the future, he and the board are not sure. “We’re just doing what’s in front of us,” said Akbar.
Proposals can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org through March 15.