After a diligent year and a half, Sion Lidster and Jason Kurtz of Full Circle Book Co-op will open their official brick-and-mortar location in Sioux Falls. A creative space for local artists of all ages and trades, FCBC is sure to be a springboard for countless local projects and ideas. We are so excited for our brothers in grassroots art advocacy. Congratulations and welcome to downtown! – Tana
Tana: Tell us a little about the Full Circle Book Co-op. What is it? How did the idea come about?
Sion Lidster: In its most basic form, the FCBC is a creative hub – based around a used books shop, events space and beer/wine/coffee/conversation bar – that serves affordable food!
The idea is to create a place where artists and fans of the arts can come to hang out, talk, work and meet each other. I hope that it will help inspire artistic projects and ideas.
A physical space is important in artistic movements, and I believe that service to the arts goes far beyond the artists themselves. It becomes the duty of businesses to afford artists their lifestyle, if they do indeed support that community. This means low prices and open arms. It means a meal that won’t break the bank, a full coffee cup, a round of beer and merriment. We want to feed the arts, literally!
The idea came about in order to solve a problem we were facing. Me and my friend and business partner, Jason Kurtz, both run literary non-profits, and we were struggling to find all age venues to host our events that didn’t cost more than we could afford. We decided to work together to create a space that would not only provide this, but would hopefully become an inspiring home for all artists looking for one. The co-op idea came about because we want to encourage community, but want to make it clear that you do not have to be a member to shop with us – our membership program provides additional benefits.
After a year and a half of pop-up shops and events around the community, you guys have secured a physical location. Was that always the goal? What has been the process? Where will it be located?
It was always the goal to have a physical location. In fact, we were quick to announce that the space was coming last summer before we hit some road bumps (we are artists and optimists first)! Those road bumps taught us some valuable lessons that we are now bringing to our new location. Funnily enough, the location we have now was actually the first place we ever wanted to lease – so, full circle it is!
We will be located at 123 W 10thSt, Downtown Sioux Falls (the former Hydra building).
What’s your vision for the space?
You will walk through the door to an eye full of books and histories. You will walk on and find someone writing in a notebook. There may be a passionate conversation at the bar. There’ll be poetry on the walls. There will be an artist selling their wares in a booth. A non-profit will be holding a meeting in our scriptorium. You’ll look at a menu of delicious, shareable meals. Depending on the day, you may be treated to open mic poetry, live jazz, stand-up comedy, independent theatre, figure drawing, or a zine-making workshop.
A place where you are going to come and find a surprise – whether that is a book that you never knew you wanted, a painting you’ve never seen, or a person you’ve never met. A community meeting point, open and welcoming to all.
You launched a Kickstarter to raise funds toward initial expenses. Can you give us some of those details?
Yes, we have a Kickstarter running until Thursday, October 18th. We are asking for $10,000 dollars to cover initial start-up costs, such as inventory, kitchen equipment, building improvements/maintenance, licenses, and the Kickstarter costs themselves.
We are offering a number of rewards for your donations, from gift certificates to swag bags to lifetime memberships, and more! More info here.
For those who might not be able to help monetarily, what are some other ways they can offer support?
Being a grassroots effort, there are many ways to support us that does not require your money. Sharing our posts. Inviting people to our events on social media. Interviewing us. Holding events with us. Word of mouth. Handing out fliers. Volunteering. Donating books.
Currently, $100 (100 points), a donation of 100 books (100 points), or volunteering 20 hours (5 points an hour), or a combination, will get you a year’s rolling membership. These are real physical ways to keep the doors open.
You are for the community by the community. What are some ways the community can get involved once your space is up and running?
The easiest way to get involved is to just simply ‘turn up.’ Come and buy our books, drink our coffee, join us for happy hour. Come and eat with us, break bread, share your news. Be a part of what this could be. The dream is to make this a living space, something memorable. We cannot, and don’t want to, do it without you.
If you want to hold an event, get in touch with us. If you have a non-profit and need a meeting space, get in touch with us. Consider us for your birthday parties, holiday parties, fundraising parties…
Come and perform with us, share your poetry, your acting, your painting. Bring us your books and prints to sell on the shelves…
Come to our classes, become members, bring a friend…
Create with us…
When will you officially open?
The official opening date is Friday, November 2nd. There will be a weekend full of festivities!
What kind of events will you host?
Open mic poetry, independent theatre, writing courses, TED-X style presentations, game nights, pub quiz, figure drawing, independent cinema, first page reads, writing critiques, cultural celebrations, salon-style conversations, live comedy, live podcasting, book clubs and book explorations, artistic happy hours, acting classes, photography classes, journaling classes, jazz brunch… and more!
We have many lists!
Even though you are a book co-op, like you said you are a creative space, and will have opportunities for a ray of artists. What kind of opportunities will you have available to visual artists?
When I speak of artists I speak of all mediums – written, visual, and beyond.
We want a space that is dedicated to a featured monthly visual artist. Somewhere where, instead of merely hosting work as a backdrop to our shop, we are working with the artist as part of an idea, an installation, for them to get the best of their work.
We are also going to have a space to sell prints, as well as a booth that can be hired at any time during our opening hours for people to sell their work (not specific to visual, but totally included.)
How can they reach out to you to get involved?
The easiest and quickest way is by liking and messaging us on Facebook, where Jason will get back to you quickly.
What is the best way to keep in the know? Newsletter sign-up, Facebook?
How do you see things a year from now?
Looking back on one hell of an experiment, hopefully with a full house of poets and artists to celebrate with us!
Any other pertinent details I might be missing?
I think this covered the wider, more in-depth bases really well. Got to cover ground that our ‘elevator pitch’ doesn’t scratch, so thank you very much for the questions!!!
Make sure to mark your calendars for November 2!