Business

Nexus Entertainment Arts seeks next space for the Hive

Cedar Rapids resident Megan Costello, who uses the name Mega for her art, ties ropes around Jordan Weir of Coralville for a suspension photo shoot in the Mega Good Vibes Art studio at Nexus Entertainment Arts in Hiawatha on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. The studio is Mega’s first permanent space, and offers room for her to teach classes as well as explore paint pouring and rope suspension. The space offers artists’ studios, rehearsal space and a dance studio, and will be expanding their offerings to include a drop-in schedule for non-members. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids resident Megan Costello, who uses the name Mega for her art, ties ropes around Jordan Weir of Coralville for a suspension photo shoot in the Mega Good Vibes Art studio at Nexus Entertainment Arts in Hiawatha on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. The studio is Mega’s first permanent space, and offers room for her to teach classes as well as explore paint pouring and rope suspension. The space offers artists’ studios, rehearsal space and a dance studio, and will be expanding their offerings to include a drop-in schedule for non-members. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
/

HIAWATHA — It’s an uphill battle booking up-and-coming bands for a young audience.

“It’s a tough, tough market,” Jason Zbornik said. “We’re not a huge college town, and a lot of local original music tends to be the domain of the young.

“So financially, it’s not really a lucrative area.”

Zbornik and others have worked to fill that gap since 2002, when not-for-profit Nexus Entertainment Arts launched at the former World Theatre in downtown Cedar Rapids.

“A lot of people that grew up in that time, they still talk about how that was one of the greatest things in Cedar Rapids,” he said.

Zbornik, 45, grew up in Waterloo and moved to Cedar Rapids in 1995 after earning a degree in marketing and digital communications.

“I got a position here, and then shortly after that I got hired as a youth pastor,” he recalled.

“That’s my heart, working with young people. I thought about going into social work, and this path got dropped into my lap.”

Zbornik worked full-time as graphic designer for local companies and as a freelancer until about two years ago, when he quit to focus on Nexus.

“It needed to happen to help us grow the way we needed to,” he said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

After three years at the old World, Nexus moved to a hall that later was demolished to make way for the city’s new central fire station.

Activities then moved to the Paul Engle Center for Neighborhood Arts in the Wellington Heights neighborhood, where it operated as Shock Wave.

Nexus helped launch the New Bo Arts Fest in 2007. Zbornik managed the festival’s live music for about four years, when its organizers shifted focus toward visual arts.

Nexus added an art gallery at the Paul Engle Center and included it in the next move, to the former Novak Plumbing building in Czech Village, in 2017. That brought another name change, to the Hive.

When its landlord found another tenant, the Hive moved this past July to its current location in Hiawatha’s industrial park.

Formerly a printing business, the building has ample room for rehearsals, practices, classes and art studios. But it’s not zoned for performances.

“We did have a bit of a hit when we had to stop doing concerts and live events here,” Zbornik said. “That covered about half of our overhead for this building.

“So we’ve been working really hard to find additional members and sponsorships to help cover that.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Zbornik and Nexus’ five-member board and staff are looking for a new venue for concerts, art shows and other live events. Rehearsal and co-op work spaces would remain at the Hiawatha building.

Finding an affordable building in a central location with the requisite sprinklers, restrooms and fire exits is a challenge.

“We’re a nonprofit, so we don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in a building,” Zbornik said. “We’re trying to rally the people together that can make the next place sustainable for the long term.”

The Hiawatha building’s current tenants include a practice space for bands, a dance studio and an artist-in-residence space. All pay a monthly membership fee to cover utilities and other costs.

“Everything’s on a sliding scale,” Zbornick said. “We sit down with the people that need support, that need a location. We really help people set goals and work with them to get successful.”

There’s also a mentorship program for young musicians.

“We pair up young, ambitious people who want to build original music projects with professional musicians to help guide their projects,” Zbornik said.

“That’s really cool.”

Nexus continues to organize its annual summertime Three One Nine Fest for local and regional bands and artists, started in 2011.

“We’ve been in Czech Village, and we have not announced the location this year,” Zbornik said. “We are looking at some options to see if we want to relocate and look for a little bigger area.”

Nexus has a core volunteer staff of 25 to 30, Zbornick estimated.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“Some of them (are) more active than others, at different times,” he said. “When we’re doing events and concerts, we have a crew of about six people.”

While the search for a permanent performance venue continues, Zbornik said, the Hive has plenty to offer.

“We’re gearing up to let the public know there’s this wonderful space available to do some pretty amazing things,” he said. “There’s no other place like this around where you can set up shop and get messy.”

l Know a business in the Corridor that could make for an intriguing “My Biz”? Let us know, would you, at michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

AT A GLANCE

l Owner: Jason Zbornik

l Title: Owner and director

l Business: Nexus Entertainment Arts

l Address: 1165 Industrial Ave., Hiawatha

l Phone: (319) 329-5026

l Website: nexusentertainmentarts.org

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.