Home alone

Britt Curtis

PHOTO/Brad Bynum

On Saturday, Sept. 19, at the awards ceremony for the Reno Instagrammys, the Holland Project, Reno's all-ages, nonprofit art and music venue, announced “Grounded for Life,” a new fundraising effort to help the plucky organization buy the building it currently rents. Britt Curtis is the co-founder and director. For more information, or to donate, visit www.hollandreno.org/grounded.

How did this come about?

About a year ago, we found out that our landlord was going to raise our rent pretty significantly when our lease was up. And buying our building has been a long-term goal for Holland always, securing a permanent space. It’s in our 10-year plan; it’s been the thing we’ve reached for. And so when we found out about this [rent change] a year ago, it jump-started the issue. We weren’t entirely ready to have that conversation, but it made us face it in a really real way. Either we have to secure this space or we have to find whatever space it’s going to be and not do this again. We need to lay down roots—to protect Holland, and the future of the organization, and not go through the kind of thing that we’ve gone through for the last seven years, which is moving all the time.

How long have you been in that space?

Since November 2011. … It definitely feels like home. That was a big deal for us. We definitely felt a panic like can we find another space like this if we’re forced to move?

What about it do you like?

Holland has a long list of requirements for a space that will work. It has to have an open floor plan. It has to have a space for the gallery and the show space. It has to be all one story so it’s ADA accessible. It has to have proper existing and fire safety stuff. It has to be in a neighborhood without [residential] neighbors. There’s this long list of things that we have to check off and that space checks them all off, and there aren’t many that do that, to be honest. And we know because we’ve looked long and far and wide. So we love it. It’s definitely a DIY space that’s constantly changing and evolving and getting better—steps forward, steps backward that kind of thing. But we’ve spent years transforming it, and it definitely feels like home.

Once the decision was made to buy it, what were the hurdles?

It wasn’t really a “let’s do this!” kind of thing. Like everything with Holland, it was really collective, and [it had] to go through intense questioning from everybody. So, the questions at first were, “Is this our space? Do we want to fight for this space? Is this our home? Are there other spaces that could work?” But we were all partial to staying there, so it became, “How do we make this offer? How do we stay here? How do we make this happen?” So our board and our membership made the decision. So we brought in some of our biggest funding supporters for an informal meeting to just chat—this is where we are, will you be behind us? Can we count you in? And it was really amazing, actually—really inspiring, really incredible. It wouldn’t have happened for Holland a few years ago, but in the last seven years, we got to a place where some of our community’s biggest philanthropists and funding sources believed in us enough to help us pull this off.

Which is how much?

The last 10 percent, which is about $60,000. So that secures Holland and all the necessary upgrades, including a new roof. Anyone who’s been there and felt roof water leak onto their heads will be excited about that. And new HVAC—so, new air conditioning, which everyone has had a comment about, so that’s probably the thing people are most excited about. New electrical. Necessary upgrades—so the building is all dialed in and ready to go for the next generation and the generation after that.