VISION STATEMENT UPDATE January 2016
For those who are Arts Lovers and our friends,
and / or who may be in need of a meaningful tax write-off, please read on —
END OF YEAR UPDATE:
We are happy to report that this has been a productive year in Rentiesville! We opened our little Museum in May, inducted eight new inductees at a great gala – despite a storms – hosted and paid for a very successful 25th annual Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival, gave lots of lessons and ran 12 or more Jam Sessions on Sundays through the Summer and various First Saturdays.
NEWS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The Building across the street is going up! – The Honey Springs Battlefield Welcome and Research Center. Brought here by Dr. Bob Blackburn and OHS, Checotah Friends of HS, People’s National Bank of Checotah and the USDA, this three million dollar building dedicated to telling the story, should bring over 100,000 visitors interested in Multicultural Tourism and Civil War History right through here! We want to be ready!
WHO HELPS US
People like you! People who come to the Festival and volunteer or support us with sponsorships and signage. The OAC again helped fund The Blues Festival at close to 25%. (We pay 200 musicians). Muskogee Area Arts Council funded 8 free group lessons in Muskogee and will again in Jan and March. We also received a Round-UP Grant from East Central Electric for an awesome 5 ton AC Unit. . . thankyou!
As a spinoff of the Honey Springs Development across the street, and since we are qualified (have the 501c3 non-profit in place over 10 years and the Museum is open) Mr. Ryan McMullen of the USDA Rural Development came knocking and wants to help with an ongoing “Rentiesville Revival”. This includes the town itself, but also us!
At the recommendation of the OMA we invited Sherri Vance, developer of the OKC City Zoo’s ZooZeum to come and provide professional advice to guide us in creating a budget for the Grant application. To qualify for the USDA help we also needed to upgrade our insurance (ouch) for another $3,000/year and get lots of estimates.
Six months later the application and all necessary changes were in place and we are now approved for $21,300 for infrastructure and museum development!! So we are poised to begin to PROTECTING OUR ARCHIVE and fix many leaks, replace rotted wood, insulate, enhance climate control, purchase racks, boxes, and do exhibit development…..
PRIORITIES and GOALS
PROTECT THE ARCHIVE / MUSEUM DEVELOPMENT
We have 2 Exhibits: From Black Town To Blues Festival and The Story Of One Man’s Journey from the House Of Shame To Six Halls Of Fame and plan new ones to include Family Nook of Rentiesville Families, From the Texas Trail To US 69 – A Road with Many Names (Including D.C. Minner Street!) and IMPACT of the Black Town Residents.
The Archive: We house easily 1000 albums, 1000 CDs – CDs of every act which has applied to and/or played our Blues Festival – truly a unique collection, 250+ videos and thousands of photos (25 Festivals, D.C. Minner’s career plus), 100 songs he wrote and recorded, posters, some Rentiesville History, … original artwork by both Selby and D.C. Minner, the recording studio itself, etc. The Amigos Library Group came and studied our archive and presented a preservation plan which they said should eventually include a new Archive Building.
We tried to put a new roof over the Stage on the field this year … ran out of time … but succeeded in building a wonderful new ramp – to upload organs and equipment… (can’t wait to see some performer dance up and down it to get to the crowd.. ) . . . New roof is still on the list.
ONGOING will be the weekly guitar and bass and keyboard lessons – group sessions are free, individual start at $15/hour… open jams and of course Selby and Oklahoma Slim’s Band Blues on the Move and the OBHOF Inductions and the 26th Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival Coming up Sept 3, 4, 5. D.C. wanted Selby to ‘keep it all going if you can’ …and so far so good. The museum was always in the plan…D.C. himself spent one winter years ago building 150 frames, and on the computer printing out photos…
PLANS FOR GROWTH
With the USDA Grant we are to become truly handicap accessible, to have both hot and cold running water in the bathrooms which will qualify us to have our Food License reinstated and to open the Museum Gift Shop! LOTS of CDs and T Shirts from bands who play the festival. The Museum shop will double as a community service to Rentiesville as a Country Grocery for the neighbors – coffee, lunch, munchies and ‘save a trip to town’ Convenience
WHERE YOU CAN HELP: Well, it takes money to spend money it turns out!! – smile-
The USDA Grant pays contractors and museum supplies. We need insurance $4,000.00 per year, payroll for Sherri Vance (who came free the first time), and other consultants. Running expenses such as heat and electric, fees such as ASCAP, SESAC and BMI. . . .
Any and all contributions will be greatly appreciated and put to good use. You will get the tax ID EIN number and and thank you letter. You can pay by check to FOR BLUES Inc., 422978 John Hope Franklin St, Checotah OK, 74426 ..for more info call 918 855 0978.
But . . . mostly come out and see us! Take a lesson, see the Museum, come clap for these great performers!
Chief of Staff Friends of Rentiesville Blues Inc . wwww.dcminnerblues.com
Facebook: Selby Minner or DC Minner Rentiesville Museum or Selby Minner Band
(918) 855-0978 Rentiesville Blues Festival September 3,4,5 Fri Sat and Sun of Labor Day Weekend 2016
Friends of Rentiesville Blues Inc 501-c3
Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame MAIL: 422978 John Hope Franklin Blvd. (at corner of D.C. Minner Street) Checotah, OK 74426
Selby and Blues on the Move
LONG RANGE VISION STATEMENT 2015
Down Home Blues Club, OK Blues Hall Of Fame, Rentiesville OK
D.C.’s Vision: Long Range Goals
To put a large building over the Blues Club to extend into the back yard. It would be about 15 feet larger than the club on the north and east sides – exhibit and office space. On the east side there would be a ‘brass and glass’ gift shop as an entrance to the club. The second floor would include an elevator and a concert hall. Also over the ‘house’ part of the building – the west end – would be a roof deck. This would preserve the wooden building. They are “bulldozing down these juke joints every day. None of them are the birthplace and creation of a blues man with my credentials – 6 halls of fame, born and raised on the spot, a family farm turned venue by my grandmother since 1935” said D.C. He was right!We also plan to put the life size version of the statue on the corner with the ‘rising rock guitar’ over and around it to create a ‘tourism destination’ similar to the things on Route 66.
Current Projects and Long Range Goals
Currently preparing to move the Exhibit (created in 2010 with help from the OHC and a dissertation from Hugh Foley ‘From Black Town…To Blues Festivals’) from the Oklahoma Black Museum and Performing Arts Center on Lincoln in OKC into the back of the Blues Club/Hall of Fame. It is currently in a ten foot by ten foot space, which we can replicate here. The Exhibit has been renamed “D.C. Minner: The story of how one man went from the ‘house of shame’ to six halls of fame with his songs and his guitar.” Need to remove the dead air conditioner. Also currently creating a flexible space in the rear of the club itself to become a gift shop and convenience store. The new door is in, donated by Tiki and Janie, and the walls are being prepared. Will do signage and special postcards and coffee cups and hats to go with the CDs and T shirts etc. Will have coffee and one-of-everything type country grocery store. Need a pop box or glass front refrigerator and freezer.
We are working to gain exposure to, and support from, the OMA and the OHC among others, by opening the museum every Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. thru our season (May – September). We are doing this to start the creation of the museum itself, also to get attention and support for the care of the considerable in-house archive and more respect and support for the Blues Festival. Currently in it’s 25th year, we need to either eventually down size the festival or increase the sponsorships. We lost our greatest funder with the passing of co-founder D.C. Minner in 2007. Ms Minner is on a greatly reduced income and has taken up the slack working hard to increase funding from the private sector. This has grown from $2000 to $15,000 annually.
Another new exhibit is in the planning stages. A time line of the Texas Road which runs by the club (aka D.C. Minner Street.) The working title is “From the Osage Trace to US 69, a Road of Many Names.” This will go from at least 1820 to the present; the TX Trail went from Dallas to Kansas City. There will be a traveling version of the time line going out to libraries and ed centers up and down the highway and an in-house 16 foot installation. Stories covered will be the Natives, the cattle trail aspect, the Black Towns focusing on Rentiesville, the Civil War Battle of Honey Springs, the Gypsies, the families of Rentiesville including the Minner family, the music and festivals, and the truck route today.
The Blues Club SEASON OPENER is Day and Nite April 4 and 5th. Open FIRST Saturdays of the month May – Sept. The OBHOF INDUCTIONS are May 24th, the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend.
The 25th Annual RENTIESVILLE BLUES FESTIVAL is Sept 4, 5, 6th – Labor Day Weekend.
Thanks for your support! All input welcome! Selby Minner F.O.R. Blues Inc. (918) 855 0978
Why we believe in the festival and what we hope to accomplish
– this come s from the annual application to the Oklahoma Arts Council who helps fund our Festival
THE THINKING BEHIND THE FESTIVAL:
- Describe the project in detail. If applicable, list specific titles of productions or performances and a schedule of events. Include a description of community partnerships.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: This year’s theme will be ‘BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME’ with an emphasis on the OK connection to the music we present. There are 3 stages here at the Festival. The larger main/outdoor stage at the bottom end of the 5 acre field, the Back Porch /outdoor stage in the Kid’s Village near the house/blues club, in the back yard and the indoor/club stage for over 21 only. Music starts on each stage at 6 pm each of the three nights of the Festival. Each stage presents a set every hour and 15 minutes until about midnight. Then the field closes. The indoor/club stage goes all night (in the blues tradition of after-hours clubs) until 5 am. There is a jam session each night in the club with invited musicians (previously hired on the festival) who ‘mix it up’ musically from about 10 pm until midnight. There is a Gospel Show which is first set on Sunday on the main stage. . . .COMMUNITY PARTNERS: New this year we are working on block booking with the Medicine Park Blues Festival and the Arcadia Rodeo which does a blues festival on Friday night. OMHOF, OJHOF; recently we have presented shows featuring our Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame INDUCTEES at both the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. This was very successful and in fact the OJHOF INDUCTED two of our Hall of Famers in 2011– Miss Blues and Rudy Scott! We fill local Checotah MOTELS and impact Muskogee motels as well. SCHOOL: We work with the local Checotah High School, providing a workshop to the HS Jazz band and having them open the show on the main stage on Saturday evening. CHURCH: We work with the local pastor; he sets up a barbeque stand and his choir will sing at the Gospel show. SENIORS are invited to this Gospel event free. We work with local businesses – about 4 of the 7 food VENDORS come from Muskogee and Checotah. PR: Many LOCAL BUSINESSES let us place our event postcards on their counters by their cash register. Any business which donates INK or cash support receives a free ticket ($15 value) for each $50 of support. We sell signage at the event from $50 to $500. The Eufaula Area Arts Council brings us volunteers for the Kid’s Village. This event pulls together a unique community of its own and functions as a REUNION on many levels. The 200 MUSICIANS we hire only see each other at festivals… they look forward to Rentiesville all year… Some of the musicians have left the state and moved, say, to California. They help us showcase the music from this region and can afford the trip back home and see their families when we hire them to perform here. We have seriously established Oklahoma as a source of Blues on the national scene. Recently Watermelon Slim – an Oklahoma artist – was back as a headliner. He started here in the 90s as a solo and has since risen to world wide fame winning several Blues Handy Awards and touring the world. The VOLUNTEERS and STAFF come in year after year to see old friends and work hard to help us make this happen. . . CHILDREN have fun with the puppet / costume OAC roster artist Joann McMillan while they dance to the music and it soaks into their consciousness. They make masks, get their faces painted, find a costume and form parades from the Kid’’s Village across to the dance floor at the main stage and all around the field. We are a TOURISM DESTINATION in an underserved rural community with a fairly depressed economy. (Second poorest county in the state?) We have impacted many musicians’ careers, both inspiring and rewarding them – as well as paying them. Thank you for your help!
Evaluation Methods and Access
- Describe your organization’s plan to promote and market this project. Please address the following items: a) specific publications or media outlets, number of ads and cost per ad; b) ticket prices; c) number of reduced price or free tickets, their dollar value, and method of distribution.
MARKETING THE ARTS FROM RENTIESVILLE: . . . Our marketing campaign is extensive and done with lots of grass roots assistance. We design and have 20,000 postcards printed and distributed to convenience, music and many other stores across the state and beyond. (affordable at $150.00 for 5000 postcards, from clubflyers.com.) This is our major outreach. . . . LOCAL PAPERS: The Tulsa World, The Checotah County Democrat and Indian Journal loyally cover our story and print the photos and press releases (sent email and/or hard copy). This past year, we were interviewed extensively about the Blues Festival and made the cover and a half page or more inside the Democrat and Indian Journal four weeks in a row. . . REGIONALLY: We buy one page in Currentland (distribution 77,000 free copies to eastern rural OK and Western Arkansas.) They print four to eight pages on the festival. . . The BLUES PRESS includes the newsletters of the OKC Blues Society, Wichita KS, Blues Society of Tulsa, The Blues Society of the Ozarks in MO and the Ozark Blues Society in AR. Most of these print the press release for free and we buy ads for the cost of $25 – $100 dollars. . . . NATIONALLY: We buy a $500 dollar ad in the Blues Festival Guide semi-annually, and pay $250 to be in their e-zine (which is weekly) and on their website as a special targeted event. . . . The POSTER (150 for free from Budweiser) We TARGET up and down 69 Highway and I-40 with posters, postcards and handbills. Friends pass them out in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. . . RADIO and TV: We always email a PSA to the public radio stations around the state. . . .We send the music of our artists on CDs to KMOD in Tulsa, and the Stillwater, Claremore, McAlester, Norman OKC and Fort Smith AR radio stations which have blues programming. In addition to playing the music, they will often do an on-air interview or ask a headliner to do one over the telephone. Often my band and I appear on live TV in Tulsa or another group will volunteer to appear for us. . . INTERNET: In the last few years we have used the internet to greater advantage…facebook, emails, and we are currently seeing our T shirt on second life around the world! OUR WEB SITE is large, colorful and informative and listed on all PR: www.dcminnerblues.com. All this is a wonderful value.. . .TICKETS: Prices are kept low with the help of your funding, $15/day and children under 12 admitted FREE. Sponsors and people who buy signage at the event receive free tickets; each $50.00 donated translates to one free ticket up to 20 tickets. The press also gets free tickets. Each musician is allowed one free guest. . . .The VOLUNTEER OPTION: Help us out for three hours (doing the survey, wristbands at gate, beverage sales, etc.) and you get your $15 fee for that day back and half off on the price of a T shirt. This makes it possible for anyone who really wants to be here to come. It makes for a more festive atmosphere. . . . Also the SURVEY showed us that more older people and higher income people attended this last year, many bringing grandchildren. Seniors are well represented in our performers. Seniors are also invited in free for one hour to the Gospel Show first thing Sunday, outdoors. . . EVALUATING QUESTIONS WE ASK include– Are the musicians anxious to come back? Do they help us by passing out our flyers? Performance quality? Do relatives and friends participate? Have advertisers increased? Attendance?
The Importance of State Funding
- As the legislature faces difficult budget decisions for state agencies, how would the decrease or loss of public funding for the arts impact your organization, project and/or community?
THIS FESTIVAL – at $ 15 per head per day – IS ONLY POSSIBLE WITH YOUR SUPPORT. . . . THIS OAC GRANT represents 25%, Sponsorship from the private sector is 25%, and the rest comes in at the gate and fundraisers, T shirt and beverage sales. You provide the safety net which means all the bills will be paid. We are very grateful. . . ECONOMIC IMPACT: . . TOTAL PAYROLL TO 4,000 musicians since we began in 1991 is close to half a million(!) dollars into the pockets of working musicians. . . . TOTAL SPENDING BY ATTENDEES on Motels, camping, travel and shopping locally is estimated at $125,000.00 (Motels est. to get $7,128 from customers, and FESTIVAL PAYS another $4,000 to America’s Best Travel Inn in Checotah to accommodate musicians who travel more than 150 miles to Rentiesville. Total on Motel = $11,128.00. . . .GOOD QUOTES FROM THE OAC: Recently, “Large variety of performers and artists that draws attention and income to a very rural community. . . Excellent programming..” and a few years ago “Very nice line-up. Unique festival in an isolated and underserved area of the state. This is an incredible example of a little money going a very long way. . . Great work!” . . . TOURISM DESTINATION: We create a TOURISM destination which attracts upwards of 3,500 people here (pop 135). We spread the word nationally and even internationally among blues lovers (who WILL travel) about OK talent. The Festival, I recently was informed, is one of the few cultural events in the state which regularly draws a very mixed crowd. . . REUNIONS: The Festival is in its 23rd year and is a local tradition. It functions as a SERIES OF REUNIONS on many levels.
- This is a FAMILY ORIENTED blues festival (letting children in free and providing programming to keep them busy having fun) – very rare indeed. . . .
- WHY THIS MUSIC IS IMPORTANT: OK/TX BLUES AS ORAL HISTORY – combining country, folk and African-American history – teaches children about their heritage and pride. . . Music brings people together and builds community; it touches hearts and brings change. This music was a great influence during the 50s, 60s, and 70s to end segregation. (Chuck Berry, many rock bands —see the movie Cadillac Records) Blues is American and could only have been created in this hemisphere. Both the ‘back beat’ and the ‘combo’ – consisting of guitar, bass, drums, lead vocalist, harmonica and/or horn section – came from blues and are the basis of every rock band. So we have an ART FORM WHICH WAS CREATED BY CROSSING BOUNDARIES which has brought harmony between disparate groups. All this helps FIGHT STEREOTYPES…you only have to really get to know one person well from a different group and the preconceived notions start to fall away. . .OUR FAVORITE THING about the Festival is to see the people – European and African Americans, Native Americans, teachers, other professionals, musicians, blues lovers who have traveled some 1500 miles, bikers, children, teenagers in love with the guitar, seniors – etc.- all here together having fun. . .
- COMMENTS include “Keep up the good music!” “good friendly atmosphere”, “will be back next year”, “This is peace as the world should know it!”, “Best event I’ve attended in OK”; a 5-star event”, “don’t change a thing!”