Open letter: The future of ROCKiT space

Photo by Jason.
by Betty Jean Williamson, Beacon Hill Music

As many of you may know, ROCKiT space, our community space for music and art, has been operating at a deficit for some time. A recent family emergency has pushed director Jessie McKenna to the breaking point; she simply can not continue to volunteer six days a week to keep ROCKiT space open, and continue to lose money on top of it.

A number of folks have stepped forward to volunteer during the month of December to keep the doors open while Jessie is not available. The lease ends January 23, 2011. The property is listed for lease on craigslist. The landlord is willing to consider working with the community to keep ROCKiT space (or something like it) in place, even if that means a co-op of a number of tenants. Contact me at if you are willing to commit financial support or want to volunteer during December.

ROCKiT space supporters will meet on Sunday, December 5, at 10:00 am at ROCKiT space, 3315 Beacon Avenue South. Please join us for more info and planning. Bring your ideas and your calendars!

Two ROCKiT events have sufficient support to continue either on site or re-located to other Beacon Hill locations:

  • Open Mic: Beacon Hill Music will take over facilitating the event. We will continue on the first and third Fridays in December at ROCKiT space. I am currently negotiating with the Garden Club for use of their Headquarters house; other options for re-location are Jefferson Community Center or local restaurants.
  • Tots Jam: Suzanne Sumi is committed to keeping the music happening for the little ones every Wednesday morning from 9:00 to 10:00 am at ROCKiT for the next four weeks. She will discuss the situation with the parents and let me know what level of support they can muster. We feel the most likely relocation site is El Centro, if they have space available in that time frame.

We also agree that, what ever happens, we want to help with expenses at ROCKiT so that Jessie and Marty are not left holding the tab for the whole neighborhood. To that end we will seek funding sources and partners to develop a larger co-operative network to manage and support ROCKiT ongoing; if that support is lacking, we will donate these proceeds to ROCKiT to cover closing costs and hopefully keep these generous folks out of debt.

To that end we propose a few benefit events:

  • Open Mics will have a $5 suggested donation on December 4 and 18.
  • Robert Hinrix is working on a benefit concert at ROCKiT space, TBA in late December.
  • Rebecca Smithers will ask the Franklin High School Jazz Band to consider a joint fundraiser— they play at ROCKiT space, TBA. We charge admission and proceeds are split between ROCKiT and the Jazz Band.

Other suggestions for the space have included:

  • Shared office space for local non-profits.
  • A co-operative natural food store/coffee house/music venue or any part(s) of that.
  • I will be coordinating any volunteers who want to come in and open ROCKiT space for community use or do any cleaning, maintenance or organizing to stay or move ROCKiT out as the case may be.

Please send me any details of how and when you want to help.

Please share this letter with folks you know care about ROCKiT space and might want to help.

Thanks to all,
Betty Jean