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The people behind the Winter Blues Jazz Fest have launched CultureFix, a new nonprofit that aims to promote creativity and culture through fun and philanthropic events in the greater Williamsburg area.
Co-founders Steve Rose and Jennifer Raines announced the launch of CultureFix last week, but they had been discussing the need for an art events and culture-oriented nonprofit in the Historic Triangle for several years before it came to fruition.
“What I’ve found in the past couple years, based on new leadership and new energy in town, is that there are more locations becoming available to do events,” Rose said of the decision to launch CultureFix now. “It’s easier than it used to be to find spaces.”
Rose, owner of Williamsburg Event Rentals, and Raines, owner of Quirks of Art, found themselves uniquely qualified to launch an organization specializing in events and culture, and they began to look to similar organizations in other localities for guidance.
“I’ve been in the event business 15, 20 years and I’ve looked at lots of different models, one being Festevents down in Norfolk,” Rose said. “Most of the events in that area are done through that one nonprofit and it makes the process very streamlined.”
While Festevents hosts the majority of its events at one venue – Town Point Park – Rose said there was no comparable singular space in the greater Williamsburg area that could accommodate the range of events he was envisioning, which is why it was so crucial to have a wide variety of venue options to choose from.
“Typically those organizations have a specific space they’re working with, but we’re not specifically working to promote Williamsburg, James City County or York County,” Raines said. “It’s more of a cultural initiative throughout.”
CultureFix already has a handful of popular events that fall under its umbrella, including the Winter Blues Jazz Fest, the Jamestown Chowderfest and 2nd Sundays Art & Music festivals.
Rose and Raines are excited to be adding at least two new events to the lineup within the year. The first of these will be a two-day blues festival at the Jamestown Beach Event Park in September, which Raines said fulfills an area of interest for many fans of the Jazz Fest in particular.
The other new event is a food drive with a twist called Art-Can-Tecture. Presented around Thanksgiving as part of the Williamsburg Harvest Celebration, this event will bring together professional and amateur architects, engineers and artists and ask them to design structures made of cans and other food items that will ultimately be donated to local nonprofits.
“Each team will have a nonprofit [they are working for], and we’ll find out what they need and use those materials,” Raines said. “For example, one team might have the Heritage Humane Society and work with cans of cat and dog food.”
Events like this reflect CultureFix’s mission to not only promote fun arts and culture events that residents and visitors can enjoy but also to foster collaboration between artists and local organizations in ways that are mutually beneficial to both groups.
“Primarily our goal is to bring people together to create better events,” Raines said. “I feel like there are a lot of people in the community trying to do good things, and we want to bring them together to create a synergy. The most important thing is to leave Williamsburg better than we found it.”