2019 LAQ Social Purpose Report
LAQ became a Social Purpose Corporation (SPC) in 2019. We operate with a triple bottom line of cultural, environmental, and financial sustainability, with a particular emphasis on cultural and environmental sustainability. We strive to provide a cultural hub that inspires caring connections in the international arts community and we aim to foster a rich artistic practice of health, education, environmental stewardship, and technology.
In 2019 we continued our popular Artist in Residency (AIR) program that develops culture at LAQ and beyond. We hosted twelve artists from four different states and four different countries as well as collaborations with the local Lummi Nation, a rich culture in our neck of the woods. Our supportive community hosted these artists and they all showcased their work at LAQ, enriching the Bellingham community, and in turn enriching their hometowns when they returned.
In addition to AIR, LAQ continued to serve as an affordable, supportive and ongoing home for artists throughout 2019. Some highlights include, in no particular order, far reaching projects from aerial rigging and treehouse building, music albums from Bemya Nymh, cutting edge DJ and juggling by Daniel Sloan, stunning visual and installation art by Heather Sparks and Sparks Design, and aerial work and Dorky Dance Fitness phenomenon by Sadye Osterloh. LAQ is also home to members of internationally award-winning circus and physical theater companies such as James and Jamesy, Ragmop Theater, Figmentally, Stephanie Morin-Robert, Snafu Dance, Cirque Mechanics, Fun Bags and too many more to name here! Most long-term residents of LAQ participate and produce work locally in Bellingham, especially as part of the Bellingham Circus Guild, bringing fresh and professional work to the local community.
We continued hosting festivals on the land which promotes our purpose far and wide. Festivals bring in people from as near as next door in Alger to countries all over the world. All our festivals have their core values rooted in nature and different art forms. BAMF focuses on bringing music, nature and people together. Acro Yoga Summer Campout and The Flow Shala Campout inspire health and connection. Deanna Fleysher’s School for Comedy Beasts Retreat was a powerful event bringing people together to develop their talents in a deep enriching environment. Sh’Bang is our own production that hosts educational workshops, inspiring shows, and provides a space where people can learn to appreciate nature and care for it. We strive to host and produce festivals that are incredibly diverse, nature-focused, zero to low-waste, and enriching to Bellingham, while being financially accessible to our local and far-reaching communities.
In 2019 LAQ continued its implementation of Sociocracy, a method of organizational governance that fosters grassroots organization and transparency from all members of the community. This method of governance has transformed LAQ, empowering all members in the community, whether they are residents, shareholders, or volunteers to participate transparently in the organization. Sociocracy brings more voices to the table and expands LAQ’s ability to consider the diverse needs of our community and operate in line with our triple bottom line.
Being a post-industrial rock quarry we focus on environmental stewardship to protect the wetlands and restore the property while working in harmony with land development projects.. Every year, including 2019, we dedicate countless hours eradicating invasive plants, especially aggressive blackberry vines and knotweed, to make way for native plants to thrive. Seventy-five Black Elderberries have been freshly planted alongside the ecologically rich wetland buffer. We have formed new round Hugel mounds along our driveway creating rich soil for the nut trees to be planted. We have expanded our current gardens to increase the produce available to residents and events, allowing more of the food served on the land to be sourced directly from the land. We have begun to keep a hive of bees to pollinate the garden and native plants, further supporting our biodiversity. Every year we deepen our connection with and stewardship of the land.