Things have been quiet over at the Vera Project since the spectacular New Year's Eve blowout a few weeks back. But there's a good reason for that. The folks behind the venue took the month of January off—they originally thought they were going to be busy moving into a temporary space, as their current home on Fourth Avenue was set to be demolished in January. The building will be spared from the wrecking ball just a little longer, though, giving Vera until at least April in their current home.
But in this quiet time a lot is happening behind the curtain. Vera's staff is focusing on a few big projects, including renovating their new venue at the Seattle Center.
"We're going to re-create everything we have at the Fourth Avenue space, including the showroom, gallery, silkscreen studio, and meeting space," says co-founder Shannon Stewart about the new location. "The showroom will stay about the same size and we're looking at adding things like space for recording and space that's not yet designated, so we can eventually add more programs as we grow in the next 5 to 10 years."
The new Vera Project probably won't be open until this summer—with the possibility we'll have to wait until the fall—so in the meantime, Vera is working with what they've got, including a backup plan of temporary venues that will get them through the first half of the year.
"That's what this month is about, making a contingency plan," says Stewart. "We have several temporary spaces that have been offered, and ideally we'd like to move the whole program to exist in a temporary space and not have to do a show-by-show or class-by-class rental. But that's really hard to do on a short-term lease. People have been really generous with giving us options, but so far it's been hard to find a space that is ideal acoustically and size-wise for shows."
Vera is also dealing with changes in staffing. Executive director Shannon Roach came to Vera last year after James Keblas left, and now longtime friend and volunteer of Vera, Melissa Quayle, has been hired to take over as program director when Stewart leaves to start her own national organization that will work to create a network of Veras throughout the country.
All these changes will make Vera Project's fifth anniversary show on Saturday, January 28, at the Showbox—featuring the Blood Brothers and Minus the Bear—all the more exciting.
"The Blood Brothers opened our first show in January 2001 at Local 46, with Murder City Devils and Botch," says Stewart. "It seems symbolic that they're playing our anniversary show, and they're headlining at the Showbox. It shows how much they've grown, and Vera's grown a lot and changed since then, too. It's also the official beginning of the new leadership with Shannon and Melissa, they will be officially taking over the reins. It's the next phase of Vera, it's pretty exciting." MEGAN SELING