They had their heart set on that one space in Greenwich and when it fell through, after five years of really good work, they closed up shop…and evidently their hearts went with it. Stuart was great to speak with this past week, taking at least an hour to give me the details of the failed attempt to start a performing arts center in Greenwich. Understandably he is downhearted. They had very influential people on their board, which grew to 16 members.
Two things struck me though. One was the fact that they had to deal with the town government and the townies (as he called the old timers from Greenwich) which can always be challenging. Second was that he admitted that they didn’t ever consider another building. This one was “town-owned” (so they could get that great one-dollar a year lease that many non profits get). The building was historic and needed renovating and was being used by the Board of Ed. Still is. They even scoped out places for the Board of Ed to move…but didn’t consider finding another space like that for themselves. 15 million in pledges. If you are not from around here, Greenwich real estate is astronomically expensive. Half and hour from NYC and filled with Wallstreet types, high end retailers, some ‘stars’ and old money, among other things.
Our marketing and fund raising ideas were again met with praise. Sure, some of them are being done on certain levels, but some are unique and were met with lifted eyebrows. I like that look on people. Just trying to explain how interactive our website will be got him excited and he said he had no doubt we would find our audiences. It’s a very integrated system that has to be used as a whole, not just bits and pieces.
While I do still have an interest in Greenwich and will explore talking to the new task force in which they are actively looking at the “town-owned properties” and trying to decide what to do with them, I also asked him about Stamford, Westchester and Port Chester. There seem to be more boutique businesses and high-end retailers and private donors in Greenwich. Whereas in Stamford there are big businesses and a plan to revitalize the downtown. There may be old warehouses, etc. that could be used. Perhaps the city will have more options on space. And it’s right next door to Greenwich. At another event for my Internet marketing business, I met a realtor in Stamford who is very interested in helping me find a space there.
Space, the final frontier, because once we find that, it will all flow. But as per the lesson I just learned, I will not let my heart get set on just one place. I can stay open to other possibilities while still shaking that Greenwich tree. Knocking on doors has just begun.
I would like to tap into the ‘towncentric’ feel of pride in an area like Greenwich. “We were the first to create this template that is completely interactive and synergistic with local businesses, non profits and other art’s groups”. Not sure anyone quite gets that yet. I speak quickly, so it might be worth my while to do some yoga first before presenting my ideas. J
Katie is working on a meeting in Westchester with the art center there. I will explore Stamford and continue research into Greenwich. It was a good lesson to learn this week. Not getting my heart set could be a very good thing. Knock, Knock....