RANGELY I For the non-profit organization The Friends of the TANK, a journey of three years began with a single donation.
During the March 2013 Kickstarter campaign to save the TANK—the long-empty steel water tank north of Rangely whose reverberations have drawn locals, sound artists and musicians to it for more than three decades—that first donation was joined by another, and another. Then still more.
More than 750 backers from around the world and more than $46,000 made the resounding statement that, yes, the TANK was indeed worth saving.
Now the Friends are asking supporters to join them on the next phase of the journey—again, one donation at a time.
For three years, saving the TANK has looked less like a romanticized version of The Iron Giant and more like good old-fashioned, get-your-hands-dirty work. Participants from across the country, and the county, made happen all that was promised in the first Kickstarter campaign and more, from upgrades to make the TANK a public assembly space to installation of a state-of-the-art recording studio (cushioned by shredded Croc shoes). Last year, after literally years of work, the TANK received its coveted certificate of occupancy.
Now, whether the physical space becomes what organizers have envisioned since 2012 hinges on a new Kickstarter campaign that begun Feb. 7: Open the TANK.
As of press time, the Friends have nine more days to reach a $57,000 goal that organizer Bruce Odland says will bring the vision to fruition.
“All of this has been done by volunteers from afar and Rio Blanco County,” he said. “So what we’re getting out of this is an incredible sense of community.
“We have a physical facility,” he added. “What we need is to get to the point that we can operate and put that final piece of community in place.”
To become a Center for Sonic Arts, the Friends say the TANK needs an infrastructure that ensures locals and out-of-town visitors can fully experience what the space has to offer. That means focusing on what both groups of people actually need.
“Recording sessions for musicians from around the world and Days of Sonic Learning at the TANK for local school groups will be priorities of our programming,” Odland said. “Artist residencies will dovetail with community outreach. Local youth will learn about audio arts and recording from Grammy Award-winning engineers, and Rio Blanco County will share in the success of The TANK when concerts, workshops, residencies and sonic tourism bring the world to Rangely, Colo.”
With 12 days remaining in the campaign at the time of writing, the Friends are nearly halfway funded, with more than 200 backers from across the United States and seven other countries.
Odland said that if they reached the $57,000 mark by Feb. 28, when the Kickstarter campaign ends, that success will open doors to other funding avenues, including grants that require more budgeting and structure than the TANK currently has.
If the fundraising goal isn’t met, Odland added, the TANK simply won’t open.
Rather than entertain that possibility, Odland prefers rationalism mixed with hope.
“We want the TANK to be part of the community,” Odland said. “For that to happen, it has to be well-run, be maintained and be a vital source of creativity and income.”
To donate to the Kickstarter campaign, search “Open the Tank” at www.kickstarter.com or type in kck.st/1VYAru8. Pledged funds are given only if the campaign fully meets its funding goals.