September 29, 2016

The Project: A Salt Lake Entrepreneurial Space

The Project founder Evan Moore

The Project founder Evan Moore

In an old warehouse slated for demolition in September 2014, Evan Moore is trying to realize a dream. Moore opened The Project in 2013 as an entrepreneurial space allowing artists, craftsmen and technicians to have somewhere to launch their ideas and businesses. He calls it an “all in one creative art space,” or “a modern-day fantasy factory.”

The Project currently houses various performing arts and small media businesses. Moore did everything by the book when he opened. He got all the necessary licenses and brought everything up to city code. He built a stage for the concert venue, put in the lighting, erected barricades to define the space and invested his own money for the building’s plumbing.
He was granted a license to hold concerts with a capacity of 100 people. Recently he staged a production of Rent and set up chairs for the audience. That is when his current set of problems started.

A city inspector stopped by near the end of the play’s run and cited Moore for violations. He was licensed for concerts with a standing crowd, but not licensed for seating. He lost his license, and because he was cited he now has to abide by new codes that went into effect July 1st. Just one consequence is that the portable barricades he used to define the concert venue would now have to be permanent structures and walls.

Moore does most of the design and building in the warehouse himself and is not afraid to tackle any problem. He learned about hard work growing up as a “farmer kid” in Texas and then coming to Utah to ski, becoming a member of the Wasatch Freestyle Team.

slc projectTo comply with the new codes Moore is a graphic artist and could draw the new plans himself – he is required to hire an architect. He also has to hire licensed contractors and plumbers to do work he himself knows how to do and has done in the past. He estimates it will now cost between six and seven thousand dollars to get the place up to code. Going through this process Moore says, “I realize why poor people stay poor.” Poor perhaps in cash, but not in spirit, as Moore has endured difficulties in both life and his career. When an injury ended his ski career he lost his way for a while. He credits his business partner, Chase Reed, with pointing him in a new direction. While on the ski team, Moore filmed other skiers and their stunts. Reed suggested he could start a new career in film and sound. He cleaned out a pigeon coop at his parents’ house, set up some equipment and went to work. Hearing his friends and fellow artists talking about collaborating and branching out, he grew tired of it being just talk and so found a space and opened The Project. Moore has the skills and enthusiasm to pull it off, but he is fighting a dragon.

“I won’t let it defeat me. I just adapt.” He is in a battle to keep the venue, but if it doesn’t work out he will turn the whole thing into an artist space and move on from there. He hopes to have enough capital to move to a new building when the current warehouse is finally torn down to make room for housing.

From farm boy, to competitive skier, to filmmaker, to sound engineer, to website designer, Moore now sees himself moving into a leadership role. He deals with all the headaches and wades through all the red tape to create something his kids will be proud of some day. One of his goals is to create jobs and facilitate other’s work, something the city should be supporting rather than hindering.
“I might only have $1.62 in my checking account, but I am still paying the rent and all my bills on time,” Moore says, “It’s bigger than me and I won’t give up.”

The Project currently houses Elm Productions, which belongs to Moore and his partner, Chase Reed. Other startups include Rock Solid Sound by Eric Eschelbach, Positive Apparel by Jordon Madison, Inkwell, a screen printing business, by Madison and Tomas Mier, New City Films by Torian Jabrill, ASOM (A State of Mind) Apparel by Drew Winquist, Pieces of Art by Arturo De La Paz, Art by Casey Kawaguchi, and a non-profit – Revolution United operated by David Brooks. The Project also offers a concert venue.

The Project is located at:
258 West 700 South
For more information visit:
www.theprojectsslc.com