"There's a thousand little ideas behind every big idea," says William Gelb, acting Executive Director of the St. Louis Open Media Integration Center (Open MIC). His big idea involves transforming the former KDHX 88.1 FM building, located on Magnolia Avenue in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.
Gelb is no stranger to the space. He might be better known as his alias Wil Wander, DJ of Elevated Rhymestate on KDHX. Gelb, a graduate of UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program, seeks to change the old space into a general center for media in south city.
Using the infrastructure once built for radio, he and his team of volunteers aim to provide local artists with the means to record and expand upon their art. And while the station once used the space specifically for recording, Gelb imagines many more possibilities:
"Three parts to the mission are to enable musicians to access tools, space and education. Anything that is media is within our range of possibilities. We're going to work and collaborate with other organizations. They'll be able to use our multi-purpose rooms for their classes and education as well," he adds.
While he has secured the building, Gelb is looking to the community for initial support. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up via Indiegogo.com, which features a modest goal of $10,000. Gelb believes this, along with volunteer workers and donated equipment, will be enough to begin operating.
Open MIC wasn't an idea that formed overnight. Seeds for this project were planted as early as 2008, when Gelb seeked help for a close friend looking to record music at low cost. It was here that he found the gap between successful artists and those just starting to find their footing. By taking money out of the equation, Gelb hopes to usher in a new wave of local art.