Was it Left to Die?

I cannot believe the Fayetteville Underground is dissolving.

Let me rephrase that, I can’t believe the board decided to dissolve the nonprofit organization when the artists were ready and willing to continue on.

Last week, I wrote an editorial about my attempts to investigate the Save the Underground Campaign.  The circumstances seemed fishy then, and they seem even less copacetic now.

Last week, I was directed back to board member after board member, and everyone seemed reluctant to give too much information.  Two days ago, Cathy Bass (board president) came to talk to me in person, which I appreciated very much.  I expected her to put me in place, to quell my suspicions, and to make me feel ashamed for thinking the board would let the Underground fall apart.

I expected her to prove me wrong, and I wish she had.

But no, my suspicions were dead on.

CLUES: Minimal press on a fundraising campaign.  A fundraising campaign that would reimburse benefactors if the goal went unmet. No announcement of possible locations. No energetic, engaging conversation about new possibilities or direction.

This leads me to believe that there was little faith invested in the success of the campaign or in the relocation of the Underground.  But, considering campaign was scrapped in less than a month, I must ask the question, how dedicated were the board members to saving the Underground ?

With two grants still in place for the nonprofit prior to the decision to dissolve, it’s difficult for me to understand why the current board members wouldn’t agree to letting the artists vote in new board members, which, as far as I understand, would allow the grants to remain in application.

It’s all moot now. There’s only a certain window for questioning before it becomes redundant. The decision has been made.  The Underground Artists are optimistic about the evolution of their existing community and the creation of something new, and I hope that all of Fayetteville will stand behind them as they work to build a new organization from scratch.

But I think it’s important to question the actions of people who were responsible for the success and livelihood, not only of individuals, but of a cornerstone of our artistic community.

Was is too late to save the Fayetteville Underground?

Or was it left to die?

– Correction from the print version on 10/20:  The Fayetteville Underground board of directors did submit a grant to the AP commission for renovations and rent for a new location.



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