Asking for support is new to us, and in the long term, we plan to build Problem Library into a self-sustaining organization. Right now we are at a pivotal point. The resources we need are bigger than what we can provide ourselves and its critical to pursue the opportunities in front of us. Asking for help from our community is not easy, nor is the responsibility we feel to make the best possible use of the help we receive. However, over the past three years we have established a clarity in our mission and perspective, dedicated volunteers and advisors, and a wellspring of energy and inspiration that we deeply believe will take Problem Library into the next chapter.
Water Adapts, We Will Too
Last Wednesday, February 13th, a record amount of rain fell across San Francisco. It also fell on our large, flat roof. The water collected, then a clogged storm drain caused the water level to rise; eventually it began freely flowing through the seams of a roof access door. The water filled the attic, then our office upstairs. It came through the walls and ceiling, spilling throughout the entire downstairs gallery and library.
All the damage was focused on the structure, leaving everything Problem Library holds in its permanent collection safe.
We’re in the process of moving out while the damage is remediated. We plan to move into a temporary location while we consider relocating or repairing our Inner Sunset space.
An Important Letter
Eight months ago we filed our 1023 with the IRS, requesting approval to operate as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3). Through two government shutdowns, we waited to hear back. We stayed in motion, launching new projects like Problem Children last summer and [Working] last December. We pressed on and kept faith that we would receive approval.
Here is what we are excited about: we received our determination letter—we are an approved 501(c)(3) non-profit! We have crossed the threshold into new possibilities and the future is wide open.
What we need to restore and strengthen Problem Library moving forward:
- A general liability insurance policy that all our spaces can be covered under. This will allow Problem Library to move into a temporary location while we asses our options and operate [Working] in up to 5 spaces. The cost of this policy will roughly double our budget needs.
- Financial support for one full-time employee.
- Financial contributions to a long-term fund to lease a new and bigger permanent space.
Bigger Than A Flood, Bigger Than A Non-Profit
Problem Library has always been our wish for the world—representing a faith that, if we dedicate ourselves entirely to a vision for the world that is good, we can create an example of beauty and transcendence in human potential.
Problem Library exists to strengthen our shared relationship to beauty, goodness, and truth. It helps us realize the potential that art, music, design and literature hold to inspire a larger view of our lives and the world around us.
Problem Library exemplifies what might be worth creating and bringing into the world through public spaces and forward-looking projects. We envision an architecture for work with depth and meaning. We are on an endless journey to grow our spirits, broaden our perspective, and expand our knowledge so that we can create something good and share it with the world.
We value the potential of creative work to exemplify what we wish to be—work that reaches out past the problems around us, to the realm of something better, and brings it back.
Problem Library is a public facing organization because we hope the work we do can be valuable in the lives of those around us.
For some of you, it’s encouragement in your own work, or being part of a community here. For others, it’s volunteering extensive amounts of time necessary to make a meaningful contribution.
For Problem Children students, it’s an opportunity to work with mentors and realize the visions they have for their creative pursuits.
For artists, it’s the opportunity to work with an organization that exists to challenge the development of their art practice and supports them as they do.
For everyone, it’s a way to decide what you want to exist in the world.
Through your contributions to Problem Library, a new type of cultural institution can exist—an institution providing support for the future of human work that is valuable. We will move towards our hope relentlessly. What we believe to be better exists as an ever-present possibility. It is here that we find endless energy to continue our work.
“Of this there can be no question — creative work requires a loyalty as complete as the loyalty of water to the force of gravity.” — Mary Oliver, Upstream
We are ready for the responsibility of our community’s support. Thank you for taking the time to read and be part of what we are building.
Grayson Stebbins, Blake Conway, Sharon Sheehan, Daniel Lucas