February 4, 2008
(Editor’s note: This is the ninth of a ten-part series produced by the All Ages Movement Project, in which the leaders of community-based youth organizations share tips and tricks of their trade. All stories are researched and written by members of organizations using independent music–punk, hip-hop, rock, noise, electronic and more–as a vehicle for social change.)
I grew up in Reno, Nevada until I fled to Seattle at 17. I watched excitedly as the Seattle-based arts and music venue, The Vera Project, grew. It came of age together with me, and it was in full swing when I turned 21. As I watched it grow for seven years, I murmured to myself, “Man, if only Reno had something like this.”
After working with Vera in different capacities, and being a longtime fan, I bit the bullet and moved back to Reno at a time when most 20-somethings get as far away from their hometowns as possible. Together with a number of dedicated Reno kids, I started a project modeled after Vera–The Holland Project, named in homage to Vera and the Dutch Vera that inspired the Seattle-based project.
The Vera Project Vitals:
Nonprofit, community-run arts and music space
Music Genre of Focus:
Popular music, emerging music
A city-owned, state-of-the-art venue that has a showroom, recording studio, and silkscreen studio. The building hosts 10 shows, 15 classes, and one gallery opening a month.
Free to $20
Where the money comes from:
Grants, fundraising efforts, individual donations, municipal funding.
Claims to Fame:
Support from Pearl Jam, Death Cab, Ian MacKaye, Shellac, Sub Pop.
Vera is the poster project for Seattle’s all-ages scene, and one of the only stable venues offering all-ages shows on a consistent basis.
Once Upon a Time: Seattle and the Teen Dance Ordinance
Imagine this, if you can. Seattle, the birthplace of both Jimi Hendrix and grunge, once had a mandate called the Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO) that made it virtually impossible (and illegal) for anyone between the ages of 15-20 to gather and listen to music or dance in public spaces.