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Ethan Bundy, who plays at the music hall's open mic nights, wants to give back to venue that has helped him.

Learn more:

Find more about Influence Music Hall at www.influencemusichall.org.

Find the fundraising campaign and view the videos at www.GoFundMe.com/influencemusichall.

  • For nearly 11 years, Influence Music Hall has been part of a mission to improve Hillsboro's quality of life by enhancing its art and culture.

    The venue on Southeast Third Avenue in Hillsboro is a nonprofit music and art center that has been active in the community for over a decade, and hosts a popular weekly open mic event on Fridays that gathers talent from all across Portland and the Pacific Northwest, providing a stage for musicians, poets and visual artists of all ages and backgrounds.COURTESY PHOTO - Ethan Bundy started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for rent at Influence Music Hall.

    Like many small nonprofits, Influence is always looking for donations and funding to keep the place running.

    A recent crowdfunding campaign, led by Ethan Bundy, is a new angle — a single effort to raise the money for the rent in the coming year.

    Everyone who works at the hall is a volunteer, and the nonprofit doesn't have a budget to pay for advertising or a media company to make the videos for their fundraiser. When they approached Bundy, he volunteered to make the videos and run the campaign on GoFundMe to try to give back to the place that opened so many doors for him, and other artists.

    "I found the open mic and visited, and instantly fell in love with the place," he said. "I've been going to the hall for those open mics and other events for a couple of years, now."

    Influence is intentionally organized to encourage a diverse group of artists from all walks of life, featuring different instruments and genres. In one of the short films for the campaign, Bundy was gratified to hear that some of the other regulars echoed how he felt — that the venue is warm, open, accepting, encouraging and a highlight of the downtown arts scene.

    Although Influence is well known for its weekly open mic nights where anyone can perform for a 15 minute set, the spot also acts as an art gallery, a venue for musical acts from all over the world, a reasonably priced recording space, and more. This year, the hall started housing songwriter workshops, as well as a very successful youth concert for young bands.

    Influence is funded primarily through donations and grants. The reason for the funding campaign this year is the need for a more organized, focused attempt to deal with the rising costs of rent, utilities, ASCAP (American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers) fees, and other necessities.

    "I've been using two short films that I produced in collaboration with other volunteers, and social media and word of mouth, outreach to local government and press," said Bundy. "Mostly I'm relying on the generosity and goodwill of other people that love Influence, or who support community art in general."

    The funding goal is set at $12,000, which would help pay the hall's rent for an entire year.

    "When I first visited the hall I didn't have much experience playing my music for an audience. I didn't know how to get paying gigs or where to start," said Bundy. "Now, a couple of years later, I've played hundreds of hours in front of hundreds of people, at local coffee shops and bars and for various farmers markets. All of those opportunities, connections, and my own confidence as a performer originated directly from Influence."

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