24 Months|105 Weeks|17250 Hours is a blog by Julianne Brienza, CEO/Founder of Capital Fringe based in Washington, DC. Posting running through August 2020 will explore the varied aspects of defining the organizational evolution and structure of a annual Fringe festival to a year round organization through photos and narrative.    

It is what it is: the cycle

It is what it is: the cycle

Vacillating between a sense of beginning and ending, Fringe has been out of sorts for the past three to four years. In the spring of 2017, when the city turned down our capital improvement request, our sense of doom had reached a fever pitch.  I was devastated with what I perceived to be my failure to execute. All I could see was the end. Yet, with the encouragement and support of my board chair, we agreed to give it one last try with the caveat that if our request was again not accepted, we would put the building up for sell and I would announce my resignation effective in 12 months.

I work under this agreement from September 2017 through June 2018--not exactly a comfortable place.

In June the City officially accepted our request for capital support. As May through early August is by far the busiest time at Fringe, the reality of reaching this goal is just now sinking in. Not to mention that we don’t actually have any of the money in hand as of yet.   

In April, I had to suspend the move from design/development phase into construction of 1358 Fla Ave NE. I had been playing the role of project manager up to this point and the items on the table that needed final decisions were outside of my knowledge base. I can easily work outside of my comfort zone, but this project is different. There are decisions or choices that can affect a series of actions or work that needs to be done by many others or result in changes down the line which means a need for more funds.   It is all a little daunting.

The construction that needs to occur over the next year is not just the physical renovation on of our space, but on the organization as a whole. The in-between state we have been in for the past four years needs to get pushed aside and we need to evolve into what will be the organization moving forward. The areas to examine and the lists of things to tackle are too numerous to express here. Honestly, I can't think of anything that does not warrant reviewing and evaluating.  

The months ahead are full of many beginnings but also so many endings. It is through the endings that we will reach the series of beginnings that are required to navigate the organization through this major evolution.

Cycle_Project__ .jpg

I have divided the next 24 months into six month chunks. Using the Butterfly School as my well, I think it appropriate, all be it aspirational to call it my sprit guide. Ugh, I know what that sounds like but I’m going with it. I spent a couple hours this weekend researching the literally hundreds of butterflies that exist. I figure I need to choose a specific one. I decided on: the Cabbage White. They can live anywhere (they have a large audience) from gardens to roadsides and they’re usually the first to appear in the spring.

The immediate next six months ahead are when much of the work or ideas will be generated for creation. As an example, my current priority list is as follows (no particular order): 

·      Sorting through equipment at the space

·      Storing, selling and tossing

·      Moving admin office

·      Drafting 2019 operating budget

·      Financing strategy Phase 2

·      Take Project Manager rfp to contracting

·      Drafting and tackling the approval of strategic plan

·      Community meetings strategy and help

·      2019 Fringe Festival venues & curated series set

·      Tackling $800K gap for capital project 

It is what it is. . . an evolution. 


Toughening Part 1

Toughening Part 1

What is this?