Midtopia is an initiative of M.E.A.D.O.W. (Music Ecosystems & Artist Development Organization of Wichita), a 501c4 organization.
M.E.A.D.O.W. Mission Statement:
To develop a thriving and self-sustaining musical community within and around Wichita, Kansas through the creation of infrastructure, education, and resources focused on musical performance and education, all on a nonprofit basis. In order to help musicians be part of a vibrant musical community outside a major metropolitan area for the benefit of Wichita area residents, the corporation may also support appropriate music recording, production, distribution, artist development, music worker education and training, and music business literacy education, with the overall aim of nonprofit community service.
Midtopia seeks to establish sustainable and equitable opportunities for independent artists and music workers via concepts for contributive partnerships and alternative business models that harness the connected, collaborative power of interdependence. This alternative to current music industry models is based on a philosophy of “do it ourselves” invoking greater cohesion to strengthen and build equity among artists and music workers, regardless of geographical location or current industry status. Like an intricate network of roots beneath a tree, this multidisciplinary collaboration will enhance these concepts giving artists and workers the ability to cultivate more sustainable growth, strengthen independence, fortify community, and propagate truly unique creative identities.
The midwest city of Wichita, Kansas, historically under-resourced and overlooked by many within the music industry, boldly stakes its claim as the point of origin for Midtopia. Conceived and created by independent music advocates and entrepreneurs Adam and Jessie Hartke, alongside independent artists Rudy Love Jr, Marrque Nunley, Willy Simms, Rocky Love, & Flex Breathett (Rudy Love & The Encore), Sophie Emerson, Matt Clara Bennett, Jackson Relph, & Cale Gubitz (The Cavves), Keo Fletcher, Ryan Crews, Neo Fletcher, & Nathan Harrison (Keo & Them), and Logan Bush, Griffin Bush, Austin Engler, Mari Crisler, & Reed Tiwald (Social Cinema) and music workers the late Blayne Tucker (Venue Owner & Independent Music Advocate), Jim Weatherson (Artist Manager), Zach Ulrich (Production Manager), Josh Cary (Recording Engineer), and Justin Labadie (Tour Manager), work on this concept began in early 2022.
The independent music ecosystem currently faces a plethora of challenges which impel metamorphosis to avoid creative homogenization and foster continued creative growth. Many of these challenges, ranging from the inability for artists and music workers to sustain themselves solely off of music work, gatekeeping of industry knowledge and resources, a fractured sense of community, extraction of resources to feed inefficient centralized structures, divisiveness between industry sectors, and systemic exploitation are status quo in the music industry.
Midtopia focuses on creating a solution-based republic of science to mitigate these challenges by harnessing collective skill and knowledge to configure alternative pathways for artists and workers. Opting for an open-source approach to sharing industry knowledge, contributing professional and artistic ability and concepts, and building a variety of physical resources and infrastructure, Midtopia strives to advance a more informed and empowered independent music community built through and sustained by contributive partnerships and collaborative endeavors.
Within Midtopia, music workers of all vocations strive to strengthen and shine a light on the often-overlooked, “elsewhere,” tight-knit underserved communities around the globe powered by the unbound creative spirit of their people. Midtopia will introduce a slew of artists spanning numerous genres and styles that are all aligned in collectively supporting each other’s artistic endeavors. Amid an industry where independent artists are often gasping for air, Midtopia works to offer a more sustainable alternative where the output of artists and music workers is realized and further amplified by the ideas and endeavors of the overarching community.
Midtopia recently revived and repurposed The Brickhouse Studios in Wichita as a dedicated creative space for artists and music workers to gather, create, and further its overall mission. Fitted with a litany of studio upgrades ranging from renewed acoustic treatments, updated audio gear, and equipment for video capture, the 1,600-square-foot facility finds new life as Midtopia’s creative home base. Additionally, Midtopia intends to utilize the studio to create video content such as live sessions, artist interviews, and video concert series.