IMC Needs New Building, Now More Than Ever

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As many readers may know, on Thursday, May 8, the City of Urbana shut down the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center performance space because of fire code violations. While the IMC membership respects the city’s codes and understands the importance of safety in public buildings, there is widespread disappointment in the way the city carried out the closure. As it stands now, there is no clear way to bring the space up to the standards set for assembly spaces of fifty or more people.
The city has given assurances that the office space; library; radio, video, and print production room; and art gallery areas of the IMC (everything but the back room) will remain open. Meetings with fewer than 50 people will continue at the IMC. As a music venue, however, the IMC has now shut its doors.
The IMC has consistently been transparent with the City of Urbana about the use of the room as a performance space, and has publicly advertised events for the past year and a half. The performance space, the focus of the recent citations, was inspected eight months ago and the minor issues raised at that time were promptly resolved. All of the major violations that have been cited by the city preexisted the IMC’s use of the space and the majority of the issues preexisted the annual inspection that occurred eight months ago. After an inspection on May 5, the city gave the IMC twenty-four days to complete six repairs in order to comply with the Urbana Fire Code. The violations were not deemed serious enough by inspectors to warrant closing the performance space to public use. Within 48 hours, IMC members formed a plan of action and began fixing the problems.
On Thursday, May 8, officials returned unexpectedly to the IMC and issued an official notice of closure. The IMC was not informed of why this sudden change in requirements had occurred.
In the short term, the IMC will be forced to relocate its shows and to reduce the number of performances. The IMC Booking Group will not stop booking shows–the group is planning several outdoor festivals and other benefits.
The IMC Booking Group will continue to do everything in its power to maintain a presence in the community and to follow through on its commitment to all-ages performances. The IMC Folk Music Series has been relocated to the Channing-Murray Foundation, and at least one show, Q and Not U on June 6, has been relocated to the Illinois Disciples Foundation.
The only long-term solution to the current situation is to acquire a new space. The IMC is redoubling its Capital Campaign efforts towards raising funds to purchase a permanent home for the IMC. The IMC will not be able to reopen its previous performance space, but hopefully within the next 12 months it will be able to buy a building of its own that complies with all city requirements for public assembly. The goal is to raise $100,000 by December. The IMC has already raised over $30,000 in just a few short months.
If you would like to help with the Capital Campaign please contact the Independent Media Center at 344-8820 or You can also donate at

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