Supreme Dow, the executive director of the Black Writers Museum, has a vision.
In it, the museum which relocated to Vernon Park in Germantown four months ago features a cafe remniscent of Paris where artists of all varieties gather to discuss, and even create, their next great works.
The James Baldwin Café would be a one-stop shop featuring an array of unique coffees, teas and smoothies and various healthy baked goods, snacks and sandwiches, along with indoor/outdoor seating and WiFi.
“We have to transform the culture of the park and develop it into a park where it is really inviting to all segments of our citizenry,” Dow said.
“The café will add a really good nuance to the museum, where you can plug in, get access to Wi-Fi, and get some healthy snacks,” he continued. “You’ll have an opportunity to sit down, read and have an office away from home; a sacred space to do some writing if you need to.”
The funding issue
Though the vision for the café is clear, funding isn’t.
That’s why the Black Writers Museum held an inaugural $20-a-ticket cabaret fundraiser at the nearby Treasures Banquet Hall on June 21.
Dow recently told NewsWorks that the event was less about collecting dollars and more about informing potential supporters about the Baldwin Café vision.
“We had a really good, effective group of people who bought whole tables and donated tickets, which was good,” he said. “I knew a cabaret wasn’t going to raise a significant amount of money, but I knew it would energize people to get them interested in making the café a reality.”
Dow said that museum’s board will look to apply for grants, host additional fundraisers and possibly start a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for the estimated $80,000 to $110,000 project.
Monies raised at the event, which brought in $2,000, will be used to start basic renovations in the proposed café space.
Dow hoped to present official renderings of the café to the museum’s key supporters early next month.