The Whirlybird is bigger than us – Christy and Jim, that is. But, The Whirlybird is us – it is our artistic and cultural expression – it represents us, the 2 artists that created it and continue to make it fly. Most our fans know it takes more than vision to keep The Whirlybird generating that joy it represents – it takes a lot of sweat equity. And, we have to say it – it also takes money. It takes money to pay off the re-purchased building, to maintain the 80 ft. long building and adjacent grounds, pay for utilities, and to sustain a lively calendar of activities, as well as, pay collaborative artists fairly for their work.
In the beginning we did not charge admissions, but acquiesced when the tip jars didn’t produce enough money for the collaborative artists and normal expenses. Today, having debt on the building, we are finding that raising enough money through admissions and the online vacation rentals of the Whirlybird bedrooms is still not enough to consistently pay collaborating artists a fair stipend or to just keep up with basic expenses related to activities and pay back for the building. We were never “in the black” but keeping up and staying “close to the line” is made more and more difficult, considering we have an aversion to publicize. We want to keep the special intimate atmosphere alive and going forward. We also need to pay off the balance due on the building, which would release a lot of the financial pressure each month by squaring us with our generous friend who made the continuation possible.
That’s where our shared plan idea – for a “Whirlybird Society and Fan Club” with different levels of sponsorship, and, for communicating directly to the membership through emails and a blog – comes in. Consulting with friends, we are convinced there is a “flight” (a group) of Whirlybird fans who understand the unique value the ‘Bird offers them personally and to our community at large. We believe there are enough fans and friends who like the idea that The Whirlybird exists in the world, fans and friends who do not like the idea that Whirlybird activities may be curtailed or limited or ceased, We know there are fans and friends who want The Whirlybird and our activities to be sustainable. Christy and I hope you will support the idea of a membership style club that financially supports us as the creative artists and the “little engine that could” keep the ‘Bird aloft and flying high.
We learned about this sponsorship/fan membership idea from other artist friends who are doing this through various online programs. This concept of person to person, communal support and patronage for artists is the new way in the digital world to directly support artists and projects you particularly love. With so many “cut-backs” to art, culture and artists, digital life is a natural path for creatives all over the world to find their fans. And, here we are looking for our fans and fans of The Whirlybird.