Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 September 2000: Nuçi's Space Opens

On this day in 2000, Nuçi's Space opened in an old warehouse at 396 Oconee Street. Inspired by the memory of her son, Nuçi, a talented young musician who committed suicide in 1996 after five years of struggling with clinical depression, Linda Phillips created the Nuçi Phillips Memorial Foundation, a non-profit to provide cheap but safe rehearsal space, affordable equipment rentals, a performance and coffee bar space, and counselling referral services for the musicians of Athens.

Nuçi's Space refers those who contact them for counselling to therapists and psychiatrists with whom they have negotiated a discounted rate. The organization subsidizes most of that rate, making the out-of-pocket cost a more affordable $10 or $20 per session. Musicians referred to professional counselling services are encouraged to continue to come back, hang out, and spend time at the Space, "to use the Space as a support system" because the organization understands that "for every person helped, countless others benefit, including family, friends, and community." They also host a Suicide Survivors support group the third Wednesday of every month.

The organization has expanded their medical assistance programs since 2000, because most musicians do not have health insurance. They offer short-term prescription drug assistance, have a volunteer physician come twice per month to see musicians with minor problems, offer subsidized eye exams and glasses through a partnership with Five Points Eye Care, and have an annual visit by an audiologist.

Services are funded through donations and fundraisers, as well as the nominal fees for rental services, both of equipment and of their sound-treated, climate controlled, and well-equipped rehearsal spaces. Nuçi's Space also offers both summer and after school versions of Camp Amped, where young musicians can explore the band experience  in a supportive, directed environment.

For their 10th Anniversary, Nuçi's Space is holding an Open House on Friday, October 1st, at 5:30pm, that includes a silent auction of autographed music memorabilia and live music. On the same day the winner of the raffle fundraiser for an all-inclusive trip to see Drive-By Truckers in Virginia will be selected. The next morning at 9am is their 7th annual 5k S.P.A.C.E. race (Suicide Prevention Awareness and Community Education) on the UGA campus, and on October 22nd, Terrapin Brewery is having a benefit night for the Space featuring a brewery tour, live music, and a limited edition 10th Anniversary pint glass for those who attend.

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