The Shed is due to open in April 2019. The first arts centre in New York City to commission, produce and present all types of performing arts, visual arts and
popular culture, it will create a unique gallery-performance-theater space for the public. Unique commissioning models, a commitment to underserved audiences and the promise of an affordable ticketing model have been developed to make The Shed stand out from the 1200+ other cultural institutions in New York City.
The next question was that of where the 457 million dollars required to construct and launch this ambitious institution would come from.
The fundraising campaign efforts are focused along two axes:
• The people The Shed is confident it can actually get through to
• The people who are actually interested in it
There have therefore been strong pushes to activate 7-8 figure gifts (apartment developers,private donors, etc) and local memberships (benefit packages for local residents and tenants).
The site plays an integral role in this strategy. The Shed has been built at Hudson Yards – the largest private development in the USA’s history.
Many major corporations are moving their corporate headquarters into the neighbourhood, as well as huge scale residential and retail actors and more than 80 000 people are expected to pass through Hudson Yards every day. The Shed will also benefit from a direct pathway from The Highline, which draws 8 million people a year.
Leadership and ownership has been at the fore of this strategy. Growing the board from 3 to 20+ members, each donating about 5 million dollars to the project, created a brand new donor base. The Shed’s chairman and CEO share key leadership characteristics: they are well-connected and well-respected. They put the time in to make the calls and follow up, pair local grounding with global outlook, and they take total ownership of the fundraising mission. More broadly, the leadership team is diverse in backgrounds, perspective and
skills – it’s thanks to this diversity that new networks and opportunities have presented themselves.
- Stick by your mission.
- Concentrate your efforts – you can’t do it all. Focus fundraising efforts on people you can get to, people who are interested.
- Know why you’re actually doing it all: “It isn’t the building or the technology that will fulfill the Shed’s promise. It’s what we do with it.”
- Build a visionary and diverse leadership team – good ideas come from all over.