Mixed Blood Theatre Company Announces Major Gifts Campaign

Posted on May 22, 2015

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Mixed Blood recently launched “-ism: Mixed Blood Theatre Company Major Gifts Campaign,” a $2.4 million capital and major gifts effort, the first in its 40-year history.

The Minneapolis-based Mixed Blood Theatre Company, one of the country’s leading nonprofit regional theatre companies, announced today the public launch of “-ism: Mixed Blood Theatre Company Major Gifts Campaign”, a $2.4 million capital and social capital effort. In pursuit of an ambitious vision for the future, the Campaign is designed to ensure the organization has the infrastructure, facilities, and resources needed to achieve its mission and vision, adhere to its core values, and accomplish its short and long-term strategic priorities.

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With an overarching goal of better serving community, audiences, and artists, the following priorities have been identified:

  • Transforming the Firehouse: access, preservation, conservation, and artistic quality
  • Artistic Enhancement: valuing the artists on whose back the mission thrives
  • Sustainability: risk capital and working cash reserves

This is the first effort of its kind in the organization’s history, and the public launch kicks off Mixed Blood’s 40th anniversary season.

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Managing Director and Campaign Project Manager Amanda White Thietje: “This is exactly the right time for Mixed Blood to really walk its talk about economic, artistic, physical, cultural and social access: with the support of our communities, the theatre will face the next forty years with the right space and resources to serve its audiences with the revolutionary attention its mission demands.”

The $2.4 million campaign is helmed by White Thietje; Jack Reuler, Founder & Artistic Director; and Board Chair of Mixed Blood’s Strategic Planning Committee Bob Lunning of Lunning Wende Architects. Toby Rapson of Rapson Architects has designed the building renovation, and Jeff McCallum of Alta Contractors LLC will serve as Lead Contractor. Roughly $680,000 of the $1.1 million capital component of the campaign, an effort to transform the Firehouse, has been raised. The non-capital component, projected at $1.3 million, will establish resources for organizational sustainability, artistic enhancement and a cash reserve to support Mixed Blood’s future and fiscal health.

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Construction began in Mixed Blood’s historic Firehouse on Monday, May 4th, and is slated for completion in late September 2015. This renovation will serve Mixed Blood’s commitment to revolutionizing access for all: a full lobby redesign and expansion will provide a more comfortable and curated experience for guests as they enter the theatre and will double as a multi-purpose event center for neighborhood events, elevators will provide upper floor access, new dressing rooms, and six  restrooms will allow for increased patron comfort during performances, meetings, and events.  Via numerous enhancements, Mixed Blood aspires to be the theatrical destination for people with disabilities, the place of assembly for Cedar Riverside residents and business owners, and a premier producer of the finest theatre in the country.

Artistic Director Jack Reuler: “This effort is the culmination of 20 years of listening to community needs and dreams for Mixed Blood’s historic firehouse. Focus groups with audience members, artists, board members, neighbors, donors, sponsors, staff, and more led to the details of the plan.  For 40 years we have made remarkable theatre in a glorious former firehouse. Imagine what can be done in a newly-equipped contemporary theater, serving all constituents. This effort started with Ralph Rapson in 1995 and his son Toby carried on that work posthumously. The groundbreaking climaxed 20 years of patience and absorbing.”

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Preservation efforts include returning the bell, removed in 1963, to its original 1887 bell tower, restoring the firehouse doors and balcony and dormitory and woodwork, and much more. As for access, over half of the new restrooms will be accessible, the seating and stage will have lifts so that wheelchair users – audience or artists – can have access to all spaces, the dressing rooms will be hyper accessible, and five new handicapped accessible parking spots will be directly outside the building’s entrance. Mixed Blood’s financial discipline has been a calling card. Cash reserves and risk capital will allow Mixed Blood’s signature experimentation to thrive. Sealing the building’s envelope via tuckpointing and window repair will yield comfort and energy conservation. And a succession plan will allow Mixed Blood to prosper long after its founding artistic Jack Reuler’s tenure.

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Mixed Blood Theatre Company has invited the global village into its audience and onto its stage for its unique brand of challenging, inclusive, and predictably unpredictable theatre since 1976. Begun by Jack Reuler as a branch of the Center for Community Action, and winner of numerous awards for its human rights and artistic accomplishments, Mixed Blood pays positive attention to differences and champions access. Mixed Blood annually serves up to 75,000 people through its mainstage season of new plays, a regional touring program of 4-7 shows, and a series of customized productions addressing workplace inclusion, inviting the global village into its audience and onto its stage for provocative and virtuosic theatre. And by providing free admission through Radical Hospitality, the company is revolutionizing access and building a truly inclusive audience in its historic firehouse theatre. Located in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis since its 1976 inception, Mixed Blood aspires to be a point of assembly for the residents and organizations of the most diverse zip code between Chicago and the West Coast, and a national destination for artistic excellence.

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