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MayDay in Metamorphosis

HOBT’s MayDay is taking a year off:  Save the date for May 2, 2021 

Dear MayDay supporters and friends, 

We give deep thanks for the ways each of you have supported HOBT’s MayDay Celebration. Your support over these 45 years, especially your outpouring of support this year, means a great deal.

Over the last four months, we, the HOBT Leadership Team, have heard from more than 500 community members and artists about their dreams for the future of HOBT’s MayDay. Themes drawn from this feedback support what we have known for years but have only now documented: MayDay in its current form is not only unsustainable financially and logistically, the creation process systematically marginalizes and appropriates the work of artists of color. This cannot be allowed to continue.

The HOBT Leadership Team has decided that taking a year off from producing MayDay to pause and redesign MayDay is the best way to come back with a stronger, more equitable MayDay in 2021. 

We know that for some, this is difficult news to hear. We did not come to this decision lightly. In the coming year, HOBT can choose either to produce the MayDay celebration that South Minneapolis has grown to know and love, or to invest our time and resources in rebuilding that celebration to equitably and resiliently continue as a valuable institution for future generations. We cannot do both. 

In the interest of the long-term value of this MayDay celebration, we choose to rebuild. We choose to live into a new kind of working and creating art together: one that is truly collaborative and opens up new opportunities for transformation by placing our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the center and giving power to artists and leaders of color. 

In many ways, HOBT’s MayDay 2019 was a wild success. Attendance, fundraising and community passion for the event surpassed all expectations. The support and generosity of the MayDay community put HOBT in the position where we now have the opportunity to ensure we are both more sustainable, and a more deeply community rooted organization moving forward. Thank you for your generosity and the gift of this opportunity to take a year off to address serious structural problems. 

We are calling this a year of MayDay in Metamorphosis. We are placing all of our energy, time, resources, and hope into a process to transform MayDay, taking all we have learned over the last 45 years to recreate a new process and structure for MayDay that is more deeply with our mission to foster creativity, empathy, and interconnection. 

Work will begin immediately to assemble a MayDay Council made up of IBPOC artists and community members who will be tasked with using what HOBT learned from four months of community engagement to shape a new MayDay process that is truly collaborative, community-owned, and equitable. 

We ask and hope that you will support this decision. We have chosen to rebuild because we truly believe it gives us the best chance at continuing the MayDay Celebration for generations to come. This metamorphosis moment will require the time and talents of the thousands of people who make this celebration possible: artists, staff, volunteers, donors, vendors, and participants. In its cocoon, the butterfly dissolves its former self to become something entirely new. This is not a period of rest. This is a period of radical reinvention. 

Onward, 

The HOBT Leadership Team: Site Director Steve Ackerman, General Manager Naomi Campion, Communications Director Claire Curran, Finance Director Linnea House, and Executive Director Corrie Zoll

What’s Next 

Here’s how you can support MayDay in Metamorphosis:

Nominate individuals to serve on the MayDay Council. 

Over a two-year term, this team will be tasked with designing a collaborative MayDay model and will represent a wide range of the communities present in our neighborhoods. Compensation, childcare, travel expenses, accessible meeting spaces, and food will be provided. This group will meet twice a month at most, with a day-long kick-off retreat in November. Read more about the MayDay Council here.  Nominations are open until Oct. 24. Nominations can be made by filling out a short nomination form online or by calling HOBT Executive Director Corrie Zoll at 612-540-5366. 

Sign up for text updates. 

Text MayDay to 77222 for updates on the MayDay in Metamorphosis process. We will also continue to make updates as the MayDay Council is selected and convened at hobt.org/imagine. 

Become a monthly donor. 

This work of transforming HOBT’s MayDay requires financial support. By giving monthly, your gift builds a predictable source of income to fund a resilient and equitable future for MayDay.

Work with In the Heart of the Beast. 

Our incredible MayDay artists would love to work with your neighborhood, community group, school, or place of worship. For more information about HOBT’s education and residency programs, go online or email ncampion@hobt.org. 

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