Help Save Bloombars and Bloombars’ Founder’s Home!!

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing to you as a friend of John Chambers and BLOOMBARS, his wonderful, family-friendly art space in Columbia Heights. Things have been rough on small arts organizations since Covid, and John is in immediate danger of losing not only Bloombars but his home, because he sunk everything into keeping his small non-profit art center alive.”

From Spotfund:

“Fifteen years ago, my friend John Chambers quit a great job to follow a dream. He turned an old building into a community art space in the up-and-coming Washington D.C. neighborhood of Columbia Heights. He called it BloomBars. The intention was never to serve alcohol but to serve art and build community. Over the years, singers, musicians and writers of all types came together to be nurtured as artists and human beings. Toddlers learned how to play drums there. Teenagers became poets there. Musicians stood on a stage for the first time there, and went on to celebrated careers. It’s the kind of family-friendly place that every parent wants in their neighborhood. With a social justice mission, no one was ever turned away for lack of funds.

Here’s the thing: Bloom has only survived because John poured his own life savings into it. In this capitalist world, free things are taken for granted. Passing the hat doesn’t raise enough to keep the lights on and the taxes paid. Covid dealt another blow. So did some health issues. Last year Bloom was sold in a tax auction, and John is trying to get it back. John’s been so focused on that that now his own house — which he has used to host artists from all over the world — is in foreclosure. That’s the reason I’m starting this fundraising campaign. He just turned 50, and at his birthday celebration, all kinds of artists and educators came together to pay tribute to what he had built. Few knew how close he is to losing it all. I’m stepping in to do for John what he hasn’t been able to do for himself — rally friends and well-wishers to save his own home. Bloom has definitely touched the lives of 500 people in its many years of existence. If 500 people give $100, then John will have the funds to stop the foreclosure on his home and make the upgrades he needs to get rental income that will make his mortgage sustainable. As for Bloom, it needs a needs a radical change in order to survive. It just received nonprofit status, and making that on-paper status a reality will require a lot of work by a lot of energetic, resourceful and experienced people. A group of friends of Bloom is currently in the process of coming up with a strategy going forward. (If you’d like to help, please reach out.) But the most urgent issue at the moment is to make sure that this generous person doesn’t lose his home. Time is running out.”

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