It's been a great year for The Commonspace. On the Web side of things, we introduced a new front page, forums and a blog. Our site is averaging about 1,350 page views and 850 visits a day. More than 1,400 people are subscribed to our email newsletter.
On November 11, 2002, we signed a lease for the storefront space at 615 North Grand, and after much painting and cleaning, we held our first event at our new home in Grand Center on December 27, an art opening featuring work by Nannette Vinson and Erin Kuechler. Since then, we've held more than 78 events that have attracted a total attendance of more than 3,000. A knitting class, breakdancing exhibitions, film and bookmobile tours, a Go club, children's reading hours, a LAN party, a social justice book club, concerts, plays, a Linux InstallFest, poetry readings, Conversation Cafés, book signings, World Wide Wednesdays you name it, we've done it. Plus, thousands more have stopped by just to hang out in our public living room.
The amazing thing is that The Commonspace accomplished all of this as an all-volunteer, non-profit organization with a budget of less than $12,000. We have a three-person board (Amanda Doyle, Jason McClelland and me) and 123 card-carrying Friends of The Commonspace who helped make it possible.
In May, People's Coffee opened at The Commonspace after an impressive build-out. This new, locally owned company employs five people and is open seven days a week, serving organic, fair-trade coffee as well as a large menu of other beverages and food. People's Coffee was named the Best New Coffeehouse in the January 2004 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Their second location will be opening soon downtown on the seventh floor of 1114 Market Street.
The media has taken note of all the activity emanating from the corner of Grand and Washington. Tim Woodcock wrote a great story about us for the December 24, 2002 issue of the West End Word, and Tess Fyalka covered our story for the Summer 2003 issue of the University of Illinois-Springfield alumni magazine. Eun Kim mentioned us in her Post-Dispatch story about the breakdancing scene in St. Louis, and Owen Woodard shot about a fourth of his b-boy documentary for dhTV at The Commonspace. Spike Gillespie name-dropped The Commonspace on the jacket of her new book in the same sentence as such publications as the Washington Post and Bust. On the radio dial, talk about The Commonspace was heard on Carol Coletta's nationally syndicated show, "Smart City;" an interview with Tom Weber on 90.7 KWMU; Johnny Rabbitt's show on 1430 WRTH; and "Arts Interview" with Nancy Kranzberg on 88.1 KDHX. Numerous events held at The Commonspace appeared in event listings, calendar picks and reviews in the Post-Dispatch, RFT, American, West End Word, Where Magazine and SLU's University News.
As we bid 2003 adieu, we want to thank you for believing in us. With your support, 2004 will be even bigger.