2019 was an amazing year for The Forst. We presented twelve different theatrical events along with numerous musical events as well as performances in our Music in the Pub series. From Layne Yost's tribute to John Denver to our challenging presentation of plays like Rabbit Hole and Death of A Salesman...to great music in the pub from Laurelei and others...to the raucous fun of Tony and Tina's Wedding, 2019 provided something for everyone.
At the same time, 2019 was a year of challenges. It was our sophomore year as a revitalized/new project, which, as many folks have told us, is the hardest year. We're no longer new and nostalgic, but we're not yet completely established. Lots of folks came out to see our projects and yet lots more need to fill the seats in order to make this a viable enterprise.
Significantly, we obtained our 501(c)(3) designation as a non-profit and began our first fundraising campaign. We are looking to raise $150,000 to underwrite activities through 2021 and we're well on our way with almost $50,000 in pledges and donations to date. It's a long journey but it's going well! Our growing patron base ensures that we are paying our bills and directing important resources to new and existing programming.
Most importantly, 2019 was a year in which our artists and volunteers stepped up and began to take ownership of the Forst Inn Arts Collective. Our board is becoming more and more active and everyone is pitching in and making our events shine like they should shine.
We anticipate maintaining the many things you love about coming to The Forst, but it's worth noting some new opportunities and changes.
Perhaps most importantly, our volunteers have really taken ownership of the space and the operations of The Forst. In January, almost 40 different volunteers have spent time cleaning, organizing and arranging the spaces here.
To see more of what they did, check out the photo album on facebook. If you want to join them, let us know and we'll include you in work day communications.
Along with the cleaning and sparkling, we are endeavoring to transform the dining area (between the pub and the theatre) into a warm and comfy lounge with intimate seating. Check it out at our first event on February 29!
Meanwhile, we are pleased to announce that Jeff LaFond is the new Technical Director of The Forst and we have added the House Management team of Erin LaFond, Shannon Floyd, Vanessa Guillen and Elmer Dvoracheck. Kevin and Alicia Harris are bringing their group, Music Without Boundaries, to ensure that The Forst offers quality musical events along with its theatre and other activities.
As a special part of that new partnership, Music Without Boundaries is arranging for musical guests for our theatrical opening nights. We are featuring Christopher Gold at the opening of Tuesdays With Morrie and Chris Darby for the opening of Three Days of Rain. These opening nights will also include featured cocktails and appetizers. Check it out at our theatre page.
We are happy to report that we have met the first 25% of our Music in the Pub goal of $4,000. This has allowed us to begin the process of scheduling three Music in the Pub events for April and May, which will be announced shortly.
There are a range of other new opportunities coming in 2020.
Of course, we will be continuing our efforts to support all of this activity through our Forst Future Fund. 2020 goals include increasing the number of monthly donors, identifying sponsors for our theatrical and musical events, and finding sponsors for Music in the Pub. If you haven't become a patron yet, we encourage you to do so at our website.
No doubt there will be more to report and more to do, but we are very excited to be looking forward to a fabulous new year in 2020. We look forward to seeing you soon!