What a season, and what a final week—thank you to everyone who came out for Groundbreak! This moment has been a long time coming, and it meant more than I can say to celebrate it surrounded by the community who—through 18 years of dialogue and debate, art and ideas—has made Town Hall into the nationally unique institution it has become.
In the last few months the Town Hall community has stepped up to support this place in unprecedented ways. In June alone, you dug deep to raise more than $215,000 to support our historic renovation. Construction begins next month (expect a lot of hard hat pictures and progress updates) and we’ll re-open in fall 2018 for the 2018-19 season.
But so much more than the impending renovation has this place buzzing. While our home is closed, Town Hall is turning itself “Inside/Out”; that means that all the programs you’ve come to expect from Town Hall will come to life in venues scattered in neighborhoods across Seattle. But beyond the “where” of our programs, we’re transforming the “how.”
We often say Town Hall’s calendar is a reflection of this city, an attempt to tell its story. During Inside/Out, we’ll involve our audience more directly in creating that calendar, to become a more complete mirror and tell a richer story. Many events will be programmed in consultation with Neighborhood Steering Committees; some will be co-created by audience members, in collaboration with Artists and Scholars in Community. If we do this right, Inside/Out will create lasting mechanisms to bring grassroots ideas and community-sourced solutions into broad public consideration—and we’ll welcome a whole new slate of exciting voices back to our renovated home. We’ll share more about Inside/Out over the coming months, and I hope you will join us for this transformative year.
And we’ll reach you in another new venue this year—your phone or laptop. Many of you are already accustomed to our livestreams (subscribe to our YouTube channel to know every time one is scheduled) and have enjoyed our Media Library programming; now we’re expanding our digital presence into podcasting. “Feeds” of our Civics, Science, and Arts and Culture programs will directly offer almost every Town Hall-produced program. And in August, we’ll launch a fourth podcast hosted by Steve Scher, longtime host of KUOW’s Weekday, and Town Hall’s Digital Producer Jini Palmer. Learn more and subscribe here. We’ll be posting new podcasts of Town Hall programs all summer long.
Stay tuned for a lot more, but until then: thank you. Thank you for an incredible season, thank you for your belief in this place, thank you for bringing Town Hall to life.