New Gallery & Store

The Ugly Iowan’s identity has shifted many times over the years since its inception as a road trip diary in 2008. In its current incarnation, it serves as a low-key promotional tool for area artists and organizations. It’s a mental gymnasium and laboratory. Sometimes it’s a psychological playground, and at others it’s an emotional junk drawer.

These changes are always organic. The addition of a store to the web site isn’t intended to facilitate any kind of fresh start. In fact, the store may not even be a permanent feature. It only exists to fund another project: 2F.

Some of the locals have a habit of organizing free lectures, workshops, drives for school supplies and women’s shelters, reading groups, etc. They’ve created a culture of support and sharing ideas that deserves more attention and investment. To that end, I’m working on forming a 501(c)3 non-profit entity based out of the book and VHS library on the second floor of Rozz-Tox in Rock Island. Why this location? Because it’s where many of the aforementioned people meet to organize these things.

See how bright and spacious?

Because the organization is going to be headquartered in Illinois, I have to pay a $400(!) filing fee to even form 2F. The idea is that once it is a registered 501, we’ll be able to apply for grants to provide public education and cultural enrichment. We can bring in artists from out-of-town, hold workshops and classes, and host community-building events.

There are still hurdles beyond the filing fees. For example, a non-profit cannot be directly affiliated with a for-profit business. But what does that even mean? If a non-profit rents a space for an event, isn’t that a direct affiliation with the owner(s) of the rented space? Don’t businesses often partner with non-profits in cause marketing and corporate gifts? Where is the line?

So maybe I don’t have all the kinks worked out. And maybe I don’t know what I’m doing some of the time. Paying filing fees, though, is hard to mess up. I know exactly what to do there.

Step 1: Retrieve wallet.

Step 2: Open wallet.

Step 3: … wallet is empty.

Normally, Step 3 would be to pay the fees, but… you see the problem here, right? Hence, a new store.

Eighty percent (80%) of all profits from the store will go toward paying for 2F’s filing fees. Prices include tax and the cost of shipping, so there are no surprises at checkout.

These conditions are in effect indefinitely. I will make an announcement via blog post should these conditions change.

For example: it may also turn out that I can’t complete the process of founding a non-profit without help from a lawyer. If this is true, I may use some of the profit to pay for at least part of those fees. Either way, everything you pick out from the store will help facilitate the 2F project.

Please, think of the children. And check back periodically for additional items. I am literally surrounded by half-finished projects, some of which I will (maybe) probably finish at some point.