The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center Foundation (IMC) has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Illinois Arts Council to further develop its Community Media and Arts Center in downtown Urbana. The IMC received the full amount of their request. The grant will help support general operations and comes less than a year after its grand opening in the historic downtown Urbana post office building. The IMC purchased the building; the post office remains as a tenant.
"I am impressed with how committed and detail-oriented the IMC is with its planning, infrastructure, and public programs. The IMC is well focused on fiscal responsibility and sustainability of the organization," said Encarnacion Teruel, Director of Visual Arts, Media Arts, and Multi-disciplinary Programs at the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
"We are completely thrilled," said Danielle Chynoweth, who led the grantwriting effort. "In an age of hyper-commercialism and media consolidation, often the voices of minorities, women, youth, and others are marginalized. The IMC provides much-needed support for emerging and independent artists, media makers, and community organizations to make their voices heard."
The IMC includes a performance space that can hold up to 700 people, a comunity radio station, audio and video media production studios, public access computers, art studios, wood and silkscreening areas, a bike co-op, teaching spaces, a lending library, and other programs. With the increasing foot traffic at the Center, the IMC is currently looking for individuals interested in opening a coffeehouse in the building. The IMC is largely supported by donations from local community members and patrons of the arts.
The IMC has become a centerpiece of downtown Urbana with multiple events every day of the week. Upcoming events include a Hip Hop concert, the monthly Women's Music series, Tango Swing and Salsa dance classes, and a Prison Arts Festival. The radio station, WRFU 104.5 FM has programming 24 hours a day and has show openings available. A full calendar of events can be seen at http://www.ucimc.org/calendar
Last Spring 40 North | 88 West, the local arts council, and State Representative Jakobsson, hosted a meeting between artists, arts organizations, and the Illinois Arts Council. The meeting helped the IMC connect with the Illinoi Arts Council and and they toured the IMC's new facilities.
"The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is one of very few sources that not-for-profits can approach for general operating support, which is essential to many local organizations we depend on for arts, culture and entertainment," says Jennifer Armstrong of 40 North | 88 West, Champaign County's Arts Council. "This grant award is significant for the IMC as well as for our community - helping the Center build its capacity to achieve their vision and bringing additional state funds to Champaign County. The Independent Media Center is an asset to the cultural life of greater C-U, and we're thrilled they have received this substantial recognition and support from a premier arts agency. We look forward to celebrating their growth in the coming year."
About the IMC: The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center is a grassroots organization committed to fostering the creation and distribution of art and media emphasizing underrepresented voices and perspectives. The IMC empowers people to "become the media" by providing democratic access to available technologies and information.