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AOA S4 E10 GBC in the Future

Hello and welcome to a podcast about creating experimental art in trauma-informed and sustainable ways that support artists, our communities, and the organization as a whole. You're listening to Any Other Anythings. And in this season, we are focused on the journey of Grey Box Collective, and we will take you through from the very beginning, before Grey Box Collective even existed, and all the way through to present day, and talk about what the future of Grey Box Collective might include as well. Highly recommend listening to this season in chronological order since it is somewhat building upon each part of it, but it's up to you if you want to take a nonlinear approach. Appreciate that. Respect that, and hope you enjoy this journey of Grey Box Collective.

All right. Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Any Other Anythings. I am your host, Molly. I am the Founder of Grey Box Collective as well as the Creative Producer, and we have made it to that episode where I talk about the future of Grey Box Collective. I'll say my notes for this are pretty sparse, and I guess to a certain extent I can only talk about hopes and dreams and wishes and the foreseeable future. 

And so when I think about the immediate future of Grey Box Collective, the big shifts going on right now at the time of recording is shifting. So, as I said, like we have shifted towards this real project base - I said in a previous episode was shifted towards project-based model, which is essentially what we have been doing, but just naming it as such and really leaning into it. That being said, being focused on a project-based model does leave some gaps, and so the next step is to form, basically two boards. One that would be on the 501c3 side - We have a board on the 501c3 side, but they're the founding board, their job is done. This is now the working board for the 501c3 that is in the midst of being formed, and possibly, depending on when you're listening to this episode, the call might still be out for board members. And then there's also going to be a board on the LLC side that I'm calling an advisory board. And then like the two combined are these like board of co-conspirators kind of a thing, co-creators, co-collaborators, it's a little redundant - that will be tasked with keeping the company operating in between projects because like, yeah, we can be a project-based company, but like shit still has to happen in between those projects. There's still responsibilities outside of those projects to keep us like in good standing on a very like basic business legal level. So yeah, there's work to be done in between the projects as well. And in terms of like the decision-making and all of that's what the board, or the boards will be doing, they're going to be the producers, they're gonna be like the keepers of moving this project of Grey Box Collective forward.

And I, so like as the Founder I still have like this vision, this mission, this purpose. I believe in this work, I believe that work needs to be out there, and I can't be the only one like ushering it in. And so this is really for me about finding a group of individuals who become essentially business partners who are also on board with the mission, the vision, the goals, the dreams, the purpose - they understand the purpose, the intention of all of this work, and are really dedicated and committed to moving it forward. And when I think about Grey Box Collective, like it did just start with like this little, well, you've heard, it started because I wanted funding and for a project, and that's how I decided to go about getting it. And it has become so much more that I really did not anticipate. So when I think about the future, it's really about bringing that vision to fruition and I need help to do that, right? A lot of kind of my struggles as a leader has been like my neurodivergent-ness, I think in like how I communicate and part of one of the things I figured out is that sometimes I really need to like dig in and understand a process or yeah - like I need to dig in and understand something before I'm able to really like teach it to someone else or hand it off to someone else feeling like, I know what's going on in a way that I can help really lead or guide. And it's been a really helpful process for me to, like with social media, I can't stand posting on social media. You've probably noticed if you follow us on social media, it comes out in batches of like somewhere between nine and twenty-seven posts at a time and then like you won't hear anything for months. That's 'cause I can't stand it but it's necessary, right? And it is important and in order for me to actually understand the rhythm of social media and what works and all of that, I have found that's actually really helpful for me to have like struggled my way through it, 'cause then I can understand how social media can be in alignment with how we go about work. And I think I have explored that enough, I am tired of it. I have a pretty good sense and I'm ready to hand that off, along with other things like grant writing to an extent, there are certain grants that like, I get them, I understand them - I actually think I've been procrastinating on some grants because it's become a little too easy to write grants for me at least some of the regular ones. 

So when I think about the future, right now, the big shift is around the leadership and the support structure built into keeping the organization running. And I don't really have like a formal, traditional business plan. I have like a casual business plan. I have a - I call it like a utopian business plan. I don't know if that's quite the right word, but it's like a, if the,  The Mellon Foundation decided that they wanted to give us $5 million, like that's when we go into the utopian plan like big life-changing kind of funds come in. That's where you, we would shift gears, and then I also have a hundred-year plan which obviously that a hundred-year plan it goes beyond my lifetime. I do plan to make it to triple digits, but I do not plan to be working when I make it to triple digits. And I definitely would not live to like 130 some odd years old. So yes - so like there's something beyond me and part of that is like I need to transition out, and I'll probably mention this more in like the stairway thoughts around like Founder Syndrome. And I thought like that transition would be like really quick just like someone else does it, and with Founder Syndrome, I was talking with someone about Founder Syndrome and that it can be like a four-year process. Which I was not ready for, but that's where we are - we're in the midst of this four-year process to transition, and it might not be a full four years, but we're already like, I think two years in kind of year one was mostly me being like, I need to not do all the stuff that I'm doing. So yeah, the future, right now it like, clearly I'm very focused on that transition, because that's going to be the foundation that allows for other things to happen. 

And with that, like the future for me in part of the vision, just like on a naming it practically level, like we're still producing full performances every year, original performances every year. We are also cultivating spaces that new performances in this Trauma-Informed Creative Practices world can be created within. Starting to think about how performances can be artistic vehicles for embodied activism. For a while I would always say artistic vehicles for social change, and I never really liked  that, 'cause the word change doesn't necessarily mean progress or that anything is improving or positive - it just means that it's different, right? So I am thinking about like, artistic vehicles for something. So yeah, we'd have the main stage productions. We would have the performances being supported from the beginning forward and new work being developed by other directors as well. Keeping it fairly dynamic that would be locally, but still maintaining that connection virtually that I think was really important. And as I've been doing this series as well as the Play in the Grey Series on Patreon. With our Patreon page that started this season it hasn't really like taken off in the way that I thought it might, but that's okay. 'Cause like, I'm figuring some stuff out with it right now. Maybe by the time you listen to this, it'll be a little more active and we can start to build a more consistent community there. 

So yeah, we've got the performance side nurturing creativity with the development of new works through this like training, mentorship program. Also having, our more like public facing workshops where - that is looking at how the arts and creativity and trauma-informed work is impactful across multiple fields and industries. Yeah. And there'd be actually a physical studio space and I miss having a studio space very much so. I don't think I'm alone in that. 

So yeah, I think the other kind of theme with the future of Grey Box Collective that I'm thinking about is - I'm not quite sure how to say this other than like, not run it like an arts organization, not run it like your typical 501c3. I'm not interested in doing business how business has been done in this field, so to speak, and I think it's time for new models to emerge. And there are certain organizations in other industries that I'm watching and I really like how they do business and I want to see a world where the arts can also thrive off of similar models. And I believe it is possible. I think like there is a rebirth happening for the arts, and I am so ready for it, and I'm ready to step forward with some new structures. So I guess when I think about the future of Grey Box Collective - 'cause this is a bit meandering, it's a bit fuzzy, because I'm very focused on the immediate right now. And then like the giant picture, trusting that the middle will work itself out. Yeah, I am trusting that's gonna be what happens trusting the process along the way and trusting the unfolding. If one thing that I've learned from the past several seasons is to really trust that and witnessing kind of the tide shift in season seven. Season seven was really a lot of lessons were learned - a lot of lessons I'm still unpacking and coming up against. And I think there's this balance between holding onto the vision but not holding on so tightly that like other things can't be added to the vision, right? So staying rooted and grounded while not losing sight of all that's going on around. Yeah.

I think I'm waiting for some other profound thought to come forward around the future Grey Box Collective. I don't think it's gonna happen, so I'll keep this episode where it is. And it's like this weird in-between - which there it is. Like it goes right back to hanging out in the messy grey area of life. There we go. Alright, so thank you very much for listening to another episode of Grey Box Collective’s, Any Other Anythings. And we've got the stairway thoughts and wrap-up episodes after this, that will summarize some of what has been going on, but also some of the meandering thoughts that I've had that I've just not added into other episodes. So thank you again. Hope you have enjoyed it and take care of yourselves. Until next time.

Hey listener, thanks so much for listening to another episode of Any Other Anythings. Be sure to check out the show notes for links mentioned in the show as well as how to stay connected and learn more about Grey Box Collective. Thanks so much for your time and energy. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

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