State Park Renovation – Summer 2013

Neo-Futurist regulars are all too familiar with our multi-purpose lobby/classroom/rehearsal room dubbed the State Park, which has been slowly deteriorating over the years.

The State Park, as it has been known for many years.
[The State Park, as it has been known for years.]
We have lovingly made use of the room for performances, workshops, fundraising events, 4-square tournaments, visual art installations, board meetings and nearly everything in-between. It’s an extremely valuable space to us, but we just wish had fancy features like dim-able lighting and heat – the ability to hang things from the walls without a glue-gun would be nice too. Avoiding the constant fear that the roof wouldn’t cave in would also be great.

At least the lighting fixture still works
[At least the lighting fixture still works.]
More than can be said for this guy
[More than can be said for this guy.]
Earlier this year we were presented with an opportunity to renovate the space with the goal of creating a blank slate that would add capacity for our Ensemble and Students to create work in, and add comfort for our Audiences to exist in. This is all thanks to Neo-Futurist Board Member Doug Snider, and his architecture firm:  Studio Talo.  Doug, with design input from the Ensemble & Staff, let us know that our beloved State Park could look like this:

SPR Final Rendering

We said ‘yes please,’ and started an IndieGoGo Campaign this summer to raise money for a tiered set of priorities for the renovation. Our incredible summer Multimedia Intern, Will Sonheim, created this amazing video for the fundraising campaign:


We sent emails, pleaded with our patrons and posted on Facebook about the campaign ad naseam. But it worked and we were able to raise well over $13,000 from almost 200 individual donors through the IndieGoGo Campaign alone!  With generous contributions from our Board and other donors outside of the public campaign we raised over $20,000 for the renovation!

We broke ground (or at least broke plaster molding) on Saturday, August 24th at 8:00am:

Clearing the room alone was not an easy project
[Clearing the room alone was not an easy project.]
There were a few time delays and construction snags along the way (as you’d expect), but we completed the repairs on our new State Park this past Friday, September 27th.

Objects under the black ceiling may be closer than they appear
[Objects under black ceiling may be closer than they appear.]
SPR_Day 35v2_9.27.13

We are so pleased with how the room turned out. We now have appropriate climate controls all year-round (including the ability to heat the Theater). We were able to purchase brand new (much more powerful) speakers for the Theater, which allowed us to repurpose our, still-kicking, existing sound system into the State Park along with significant improvements to lighting and video capacity turning the room into a second performance-ready space.

We’re very excited to continue to introduce old and new patrons to the space, but it’s most important that we again take the time to publicly thank The Neo-Futurist Board, Ensemble and Staff in addition to the 200+ generous renovation campaign donors who made this project a huge success.




And if by any chance you missed your opportunity to donate to the campaign, we did go over budget in a few areas to deliver the space we needed – consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Neos today.

You can do this, too.

Interested in taking a class? Our ensemble members teach Neo-Futurism throughout the year at our home space in Chicago. We can also come to you. Find out more about enrollment, hiring teachers, and scholarships.