COVID-19 Resources & Support from VERA

Hey VERA Community,
 
It has only been about a week since we temporarily shut down, but so many of us are already feeling a shared sense of loss and isolation away from our home at The Vera Project. COVID-19 has fractured our music and arts community in more ways than we could have possibly imagined, and some of our most beloved Seattle institutions have been hit the hardest. Countless musicians, artists, nonprofits, production & gig workers, and small businesses are struggling and need our support and solidarity more than ever. While it won’t always feel like it as we face the next couple months of uncertainty, we are all in this together and we will make it through this crisis more prepared, resilient, and kind.  
 
All of us here at VERA have been working with our friends and neighbors throughout the last couple of weeks to do everything we can to offer resources and support for the most vulnerable folx in our shared communities. Today I am happy to announce a couple of initiatives that we hope will help in some small way:
 
1. VERA COVID-19 Resource Referrals– Fill out this quick survey and we will do everything in our power to connect you to the resources and information you need. Once your answers are submitted, someone from our dedicated team of staff members and volunteers will get back to you with suggestions for aid, referrals to external resources, and/or direct support from VERA.
 
2. VERA Merch Program- 100% of all profits from our newly launched web store will go directly to COVID-19 aid for the foreseeable future.  Check out our community tab to support our membership and teaching artists, and keep an eye out for collaborative merch from local bands that we’ll be highlighting in the coming weeks.  
 
3. DIY Community Relief-  Help us reach our fundraising goal of $25,000 to sustain young people disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with a special focus on DIY spaces and the folx leading our music community that do not qualify for other means of institutional support.  Donate to VERA’s DIY Community Fund today.  
 
Please help us share this information with your networks and stay tuned for updates on additional community resources, COVID-19 advocacy initiatives, and exciting new programming opportunities to help keep our community afloat and DIY alive in Seattle and beyond.  
 
Truly & Sincerely, 
 
The Vera Project Staff & Membership
 
 
 

The Vera Project Temporarily Closed

Dear VERA Community, 

Thank you so much for working with us throughout the last couple of weeks to keep our community healthy and help fight the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve received and the opportunity to lift up local musicians, artists, gig workers, and students at our recent scaled back (and socially-distanced) shows and classes. In the interest of public safety, however, all programming at The Vera Project will be suspended until further notice and our doors will be temporarily closed to the public, effective Monday, March 16th at 12:00PM. 
 
It is more important than ever that we come together and work proactively to protect the most vulnerable folx in our shared communities, so please join us in taking every possible precaution and following the safety guidelines prescribed by the City of Seattle, King County Public Health, the Center for Disease Control, and the State of Washington. Head to King County Public Health’s COVID-19 resources page for more information.  
 
As we all navigate these incredibly challenging times, please consider supporting our local musicians, artists, nonprofits, and small businesses. Northwest Folklife has an incredible list of community resources that we encourage you to contribute to, as able, and all donations made to The Vera Project from now until the end of April will go directly toward sustaining young people that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Thank you again for helping keep VERA and the City of Seattle prepared, resilient, and kind.   
 
In Solidarity, 
 
The Vera Project Staff & Membership

VERA COVID-19 Updates

Hello VERA Community, 

This morning Governor Inslee issued an emergency proclamation prohibiting events and gatherings with more than 250 attendees in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.  The Vera Project continues to prioritize the safety and health of our community and will be responding accordingly by further increasing safety precautions, limiting attendance at all shows, canceling or rescheduling select events, and encouraging all staff and volunteers to work remotely whenever possible.  Please check back regularly for additional emails, blog and social posts, and other communications with relevant updates on our events and educational programming. 

In the interest of reducing staff time, our phone lines will be temporarily closed, so contact info@theveraproject.org with any questions, comments, or concerns.  

Please see below for the status of specific VERA events and programs.  

Classes, Workshops, and Open Sessions– All educational opportunities at The Vera Project will continue as scheduled for the foreseeable future, unless otherwise stated.  Participants will be notified of any changes and our website will be kept up to date.  

Committee Meetings & Work Sessions– Meetings will also continue as scheduled at the discretion of staff and committee chairs.  

Volunteer Orientations– All upcoming volunteer orientations have been postponed until further notice to avoid unnecessary risk.  

Shows– VERA concerts and special events will largely continue as planned, with the exception of select mainstage shows (listed below).  All events will be strictly restricted to a capacity of 220 attendees, with significantly heightened safety precautions and cleaning procedures.  Please be mindful of all public health guidelines posted, show staff instructions, and any announcements or communications during or prior to each event.  Do not come to The Vera Project under any circumstances if you are experiencing listed COVID-19 symptoms or are feeling sick.  

Announcements regarding the following events will be made shortly 

3/17 – Knuckle Puck 

3/21 – Spite

3/28 – Lightning Bolt

Thank you again for helping to keep our community healthy and safe.  Here is more information on our safety precautions:

  1. Personal Health & Hygiene:

    1. Wash your hands and utilize alcohol-based sanitizer significantly more regularly.  

    2. Keep your distance from others, use appropriate coughing etiquette (use your elbow), and avoid touching your face.  

    3. Eat well, rest enough, get plenty of fluids, and work to manage stress to keep your immune system strong.  

    4. If you are experiencing any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, please stay home if at all possible, check in with your doctor, and contact King County’s novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 or Washington State’s at 800-525-0127.  

    5. If you are considered to be “higher risk” by King County Public Health (Over 60 years old, pregnant, have underlying health conditions, or have a weakened immune system), please stay home and avoid large crowds & congregations as often as possible.  

  1. Community Safety

    1. Again, stay home and avoid large crowds and congregations when you are sick, and encourage others to do the same.  

    2. Avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. If you must visit one of these facilities, limit your time and keep at least six feet away from patients.  

    3. Do not go to the emergency room unless it is essential to ensure that our medical facilities can effectively care for those with the most critical need.  

  1. The Vera Project Safety & Precautions – If you are working, volunteering, or participating at a show, class, or other program at VERA, here are a couple of things you need to know:

    1. Do not come to The Vera Project if you’re sick, experiencing any potential COVID-19 symptoms, or may be vulnerable to the virus or have a higher risk due to underlying health conditions.  All of our staff and volunteers will be taking this guideline very seriously, including daily symptoms screenings and additional custodial staff, to ensure our collective safety. Please do not put our shared community at risk- there will always be more opportunities to catch a band or take a class.  

    2. We need your help to keep The Vera Project clean, safe, and open to all. Be mindful and responsive to show staff instruction and posted precautions and wash your hands regularly at VERA events. Reminders about such precautions will be announced at all VERA shows and detailed on signs throughout the venue.  

    3. Limit close personal contact & practice social distancing.  Try and keep as much space between yourself and other event attendees as possible and avoid moshing, crowd-surfing, etc. 

    4. Keep VERA staff informed about potential safety and cleanliness issues. We’ll be doing our best to take every precaution, including updating cleaning procedures, adding custodial staff, and informing our community about safety procedures and COVID-19 updates, but please let us know what we can be doing better.  Contact ricky@theveraproject.org or reply to this message with any questions or concerns.

 
Thanks again,
 
Ricky

COVID-19 Preparedness at The Vera Project

Hi VERA Community, 

As I’m sure you’re aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has become a significant public health concern in King County.  In order to keep everyone in our community safe and help slow the spread of the virus, The Vera Project will be working closely with King County Public Health, Seattle Center, and our friends in the music and art community to take all recommended precautions and respond proactively to potential risks.  

At this time, The Vera Project will remain open and all programming will continue as scheduled. We will, however, be monitoring the situation closely and implementing a collaborative action plan for staff, volunteers, show attendees, and program participants.  Please check your email and our website regularly in the coming days and weeks for any relevant updates, as we will be responding rapidly to changing conditions. In the meantime, please see below for The Vera Project & King County’s safety recommendations:

  1. Personal Health & Hygiene:

    1. Wash your hands and utilize alcohol-based sanitizer significantly more regularly.  

    2. Keep your distance from others, use appropriate coughing etiquette (use your elbow), and avoid touching your face.  

    3. Eat well, rest enough, get plenty of fluids, and work to manage stress to keep your immune system strong.  

    4. If you are experiencing any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or believe you may have been exposed to the virus, please stay home if at all possible, check in with your doctor, and contact King County’s novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 or Washington State’s at 800-525-0127.  

    5. If you are considered to be “higher risk” by King County Public Health (Over 60 years old, pregnant, have underlying health conditions, or have a weakened immune system), please stay home and avoid large crowds & congregations as often as possible.  

  1. Community Safety

    1. Again, stay home and avoid large crowds and congregations when you are sick, and encourage others to do the same.  

    2. Avoid visiting hospitals, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. If you must visit one of these facilities, limit your time and keep at least six feet away from patients.  

    3. Do not go to the emergency room unless it is essential to ensure that our medical facilities can effectively care for those with the most critical need.  

  1. The Vera Project Safety & Precautions – If you are working, volunteering, or participating at a show, class, or other program at VERA, here are a couple of things you need to know:

    1. Do not come to The Vera Project if you’re sick or experiencing any potential COVID-19 symptoms.  All of our staff and volunteers will be taking this guideline very seriously to ensure our collective safety. Please do not put our shared community at risk- there will always be more opportunities to catch a band or take a class.  

    1. We need your help to keep The Vera Project clean, safe, and open to all. Be mindful and responsive to show staff instruction and posted precautions, wash your hands regularly at VERA events, and keep a safe distance from other show-goers as able.  Reminders about such precautions will be announced at all VERA shows and detailed on signs throughout the venue.  

    1. Keep VERA staff informed about potential safety and cleanliness issues. We’ll be doing our best to take every precaution, including updating cleaning procedures, adding custodial staff, and informing our community about safety procedures and COVID-19 updates, but please let us know what we can be doing better.  Contact ricky@theveraproject.org or reply to this message with any questions or concerns.  

Thank you so much for helping keep The Vera Project and our shared communities safe and resilient.  We hope to see you soon.  

We’re Hiring a Marketing Coordinator + a Civic Engagement Intern!!

We’re hiring! Vera is looking to bring on both a Marketing Coordinator, and a Civic Engagement Intern. See below for overviews of the positions, plus the link to the full description!

Marketing Coordinator:

Position Overview: The Marketing Coordinator facilitates The Vera Project’s marketing, social media, outreach, and community relations efforts. Reporting to the Artistic Director & Executive Director, and collaborating daily with the Production Coordinator, Talent Buyer Team, Education Manager, and Volunteer Engagement Manager, this position develops and executes marketing plans, various external communications, and other assorted promotional activities.

Civic Engagement Intern

Position Overview: The Civic Engagement Intern works with the Education Manager and Executive Director to facilitate The Vera Project’s voter engagement, community organizing, and advocacy efforts. Over the course of the internship, intern will gain significant experience in developing voter education programs, community organizing field work, volunteer management, and nonprofit administration.

 

Giving Tuesday Starts NOW! Help VERA keep All-Ages Music Alive in Seattle!

2019 has been an incredible year of impact and innovation at VERA!
 
From launching our off-site series of benefit shows via Vera On Yr Block to kicking off vital, advocacy-driven programs like Vote with VERA & Neurodiversity Nights, we’re bringing MORE opportunity to MORE people in MORE places than ever before.  
 
Contribute to our #givingtuesday goal of $10,000 to ensure that VERA remains a home to extraordinary folx of all ages for many years to come!

DONATE HERE!

We’re hiring an Education Manager + an Admin Intern!!

We’re hiring! Vera is looking to bring on both an Education Manager, and an Administrative Intern. See below for overviews of the positions, plus the link to the full description!

Education Manager:

The Vera Project’s Education Manager works to continuously and collaboratively develop, administer, and evaluate educational programming organization-wide.  Collaborating closely with the program staff and VERA’s membership, this position is integral in offering transformative learning opportunities in music, visual arts & screen printing, community organizing, and career readiness to folx of all ages. 

Administrative Intern:

The Administrative Intern works closely with the Operations & Facilities Coordinator to provide administrative assistance at the front desk as well as day-to-day venue needs. The intern will be responsible for front desk coverage during office hours, answering phone calls, checking in patrons for classes, and scheduling screen printing open sessions. This position contributes directly to the daily administrative functions of The Vera Project and is an excellent opportunity for professional development in arts & nonprofit administration.

Big news!!

Hey there community,

Ashraf here (on Jessica’s website login, lol). As the subject of this blogpost suggests, big news and big changes are underway at VERA. But before I talk about the future, I want to first take an opportunity to recognize the amazing growth and revitalization the organization has seen over the last couple of years. 

VERA is in such a wonderfully stable and lucid position. We have meaningful financial reserves for the first time; we’ve solidified partnerships with neighbors new and old; our space looks better than ever, with new program equipment and regular maintenance and repairs to the venue; we’ve launched a slew of new programs that meet community needs, such as VERA On Yr Block, Neurodiversity Nights, VERA SAFE, No Place Fest, and Vote with VERA, and are doubling down on our core programs with a refreshed curriculum and renewed focus. We’re even on the precipice of launching a slick new website!

That’s not even close to everything! We accomplished so much, and that’s due to our incredible membership, board, and staff–not to mention our community of loyal volunteers, partners, and dearest supporters. Together, we’ve worked collaboratively, brought everyone’s unique perspectives together, and have created a shared vision that’s felt in every corner of the organization. Big ups to YOU!

And so comes the aforementioned big news. Deep breath!

An amazing career opportunity has presented itself, and I have decided to pursue it. I’m transitioning out of VERA this Fall and stepping into the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) as Youth Arts Manager in late November/early December. The work I’ll be doing at ARTS is directly aligned with our work here at VERA, and I’ll have the incredible privilege of continuing the collective impact work Lara Davis started with The Creative Advantage, working on systemic change in arts education with Seattle Public Schools, as well as out-of-school youth arts funding and paid internships for young people looking to apply their creative thinking (via arts education) to creative careers, so they can not only stay in Seattle, but thrive here—all while centering racial equity and youth voice. 

I love VERA and the work we’re doing around radical inclusivity, equity and social justice, “alternative” arts education, experiential learning, building the region’s creative economy, and empowering new leaders. Through this new career opportunity, I will continue to support organizations like VERA, while focusing on justice, equity, and access. I am excited to build new connections across communities in Seattle, support more inclusive conversations around arts education, and take on a broader role in helping our region to recognize the importance of investing in our young people. 

Though my time at VERA was short, know that it is certainly not over. Upon my formal departure as a staff member, I’ll join membership, the 2020 Gala Committee (save the date! Sat Feb 22, 2020 @ Washington Hall, 5-10pm), and help to form the 20th Anniversary Advisory Council with former board members, local big-deal influencers, and fellow True & Sincere Friends. You can’t keep me away!

You’re probably wondering who will step into the role I am leaving behind. Well fear not, dearest community! For the Board and I have a kick-ass transition and succession plan that we have been working on over the last few weeks. 

Our righteous Development & Advocacy Director, Ricky Graboski, will move into the Interim Executive Director role for a period of six months, ensuring that the Board can be deliberate and diligent about considering the extra-special role of ED. Establishing Ricky as Interim ED will also provide considerably less distraction with VERA’s Fall Fund Drive, Live From Our Living Room, and the 2020 Viva Vera Gala, all within the next few months. After the gala, the Board will consider whether or not to conduct an executive search and seek input from True & Sincere Friends as we march toward our 20th anniversary in 2021. 

In a short time, Ricky’s proven to be an effective, accessible, and inclusive leader within our community. He has earned credibility, exceeded all of his goals, and helped bring stability to the organization. He has also grown to be my key thought partner and strategic advisor within the organization, especially around long-term planning, financial health, and mission-driven programming. He grew up in DIY spaces like VERA, and brought the activism spirit from which we were founded back into the space. Ricky has been an Executive Director in his career (ask him about it!) and is familiar with the responsibilities, commitment, and dedication it takes to do the job with integrity.

A transition like this couldn’t have happened at a better time, really. As mentioned at the top of this post, we’re doing really great with a happy and motivated staff, board, and membership to boot. I have tremendous faith in VERA and its future. So let’s celebrate! It’s VERA’s annual Fall Fund Drive, and I hope you can help us ensure we smash our goals and enter 2020 strong. There’s so many ways to support! Give a gift of any amount here before the end of the year, join us for Live From Our Living Room, VERA’s annual holiday benefit show we just announced today, or come see me at any of our Cool Times (fka A Drink For The Kids) events, where I can introduce you to Ricky, with my *official* unofficial send-off party being at Life On Mars on Sunday 11/17 from 4-8pm

Much love,
ashraf

Vote with Vera: Cast an Anti-Racist Ballot

The Vera Project is hosting “Vote with Vera: Cast an Anti-Racist Ballot” featuring Official Kimya Dawson, Summer Cannibals, Nikkita “KO” Oliver, and special guests on Thursday, October 3rd from 6:30-11PM!

Centered around getting out the vote in local elections and beyond for immigrant and refugee rights, ending youth homelessness, and fighting youth incarceration, we’ll all learn how to cast an anti-racist ballot together with music, guest speakers, a ballot forum, and more. Special thanks to our spotlighted nonprofit partners at The Washington Bus, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Sanctuary Art Center, King County Elections, the Seattle Foundation, & more!!!

$10 Suggested Donation to support anti-racist civic engagement work at The Vera Project and our nonprofit partners | No one turned away for lack of funds | Always All Ages

Art credit Sarah Maloney, Sarah Maloney Art

 
Links: