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In all likelihood, it started, as these things do, with a casual conversation peppered with “what ifs.” However, semi-idle chitchat soon began to have the unmistakable ring of a Good Idea, maybe even a Really Good Idea, and a partnership was born.
I’m talking about the pairing of two local, music-related nonprofits, Whatcom All-Ages Arts and Music (WhAAM) and Make.Shift. At first glance, the two groups seem to not have all that much in common—WhAAM exists to provide a safe place for people of all ages to see music and Make.Shift is a more general-purpose music resource, providing eco-friendly tour transport, bike-generated power for shows and the like.
However, according to Make.Shift’s Cat Sieh, the differences between the two organizations were not nearly as important as the commonalities. “WhAAM and Make.Shift volunteers have always been overactive participants in the Bellingham music scene, and after a while the work we were both doing just…melded,” Sieh says. “We started talking around the time WhAAM was contemplating its move, and realized that our missions and ideals coincided so well that collaborating not only made sense, it actually would further the goals of both nonprofits.”
This was a little less than eight months ago, months that might’ve seemed like quiet ones for the two nonprofits, but were, in fact, rife with plans and activity.
“WHAAM and Make.Shift had been overeager to find a viable space for more than half a year.” Sieh says “We had checked out virtually any vacant space on the market that even vaguely resembled what we were looking for.”