Open Collective
Open Collective
End of 2022 Update from Obvious Agency
Published on December 20, 2022 by Daniel Park

Hello loved ones and family! This is Daniel Park, one of Obvious Agency's four worker-owners, writing to y'all with some end of year updates from Obvious Agency.

2022 was a big year for Obvious Agency! In February, our three founding worker-owners voted unanimously to bring on Cat Ramirez as our first ever non-founding worker-owner to the team. In October we completed our largest collaboration to date, creating and co-producing "The Raven" alongside Opera Philadelphia. In November we hired on 8 new contract staff members, primarily trans folks, queer folks, and people of color, for our current major project "Space Opera." All of this was made possible through generous support from the William Penn Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, which has vastly increased our annual budget from approximately $15,000 pre-Open Collective, to over $150,000 for 2022. We are so grateful to all of the support that we have received and look forward to utilizing these resources in solidarity with our community.

These successes did not come easily to us! Throughout 2022, we continued to face challenges around our staff's capacity, particularly for day-to-day operations and administration. We are continuing to figure out how we balance that our four staff members all need to maintain employment outside of Obvious Agency to have their needs met, while recognizing that the work of running our collective is a full time commitment, and of course each of our worker-owners have their own lives and careers that they are invested in outside of our shared work. We navigated all of this while also being committed to making live and in-person art, as safely as possible, during a global pandemic that continues to ravage our economy, our culture, and our individual wholistic well being in so many ways.

We look forward to addressing these challenges in 2023, while continuing to pursue the things we love and that bring us joy. We will be hiring our first paid staff members, a Cooperative Operations Manager who will begin in Feburary of 2023, and our Cooperative Business Manager who will begin the following summer. We will be working closely with the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance to develop our internal infrastructure and systems of governance, as we continue to pursue legal incorporation of the cooperative.  Our Cooperative Business Manager will be spending the majority of their time focusing on our revenue generating projects and market testing our business plan, a major step towards the long-term sustainability of the cooperative. While we have some other smaller projects in the works as well, we're particularly looking forward to the continued development of "Space Opera" over the course of at least four developmental periods in 2023.

We could not have achieved these major milestones without your support. Obvious Agency always prioritizes "people over stuff" and by far, the majority of the funds we recieve go directly to queer and trans people of color. We're still ~$150,000 away from our funding needs for "Space Opera" in 2023. Support Obvious Agency today through a donation of any size, and know that your money will be going towards providing a site of dignified jobs and a healthy workplace for artists.
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Caroline Woolard

Posted on December 29, 2022

This is so wonderful to read!!!