Heck Yeah, 2013

Talk about a banner year. We are so proud of our hardworking volunteers, our amazing tenants, and our community, whose incredible support we couldn’t live without.

In 2013, Make.Shift: Won Best Bellingham Gallery for the second year in a row; Raised $20k to make major fire safety improvements; Installed a killer honor system soda fridge; Installed heating in the basement for the first time EVER; Sold more art than ever before; Welcomed The Documentary Center and Guitar Doctor as new tenants; and so much more.


Fire Code Fundraiser Success!

We set our fundraising goal at $20k, and thanks to all of YOU Make.Shift has reached and surpassed our target!

A huge thank you to all of our awesome friends and neighbors who helped make these past months of fire code updates such a success. We have completed work on one new fire exit, and the second is well underway… which means we hope to see you back in the Make.Shift basement for all-ages live music as early as January!

Stay tuned for further updates.


Nightmare on Railroad Ave.: A Haunted House

Empty your bladder and put on your game face — Make.Shift is taking over the Boundary Bay Brewery beer garden for two nights of terror! 

Be prepared for a full-blown haunted house full of live actors, chilling detail, and unbelievable scares. This event is ALL AGES, but be warned that this may be too scary for little ones. MUAHAHA.

7-11 p.m. Wed. Oct. 30
7-11 p.m. Thurs. Oct. 31

Boundary Bay beer available for purchase for those 21+.

Forgot a costume or wanna jazz yours up? Let our makeup artists paint your face while you wait in line!

Fire Code: Your Questions Answered

Make.Shift stopped hosting live shows at our all-ages, drug-free basement venue back in late April, after a routine inspection by the Bellingham Fire Department. Understandably, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about what this means for shows, for safety, and for Make.Shift’s future as a whole. We hope the following information will help answer those questions.

In Transition:

Make.Shift is in a transitional period after five years of operation (two in our current downtown location). Our building was recently purchased by new owners, and all of the tenants in our building including Make.Shift are being asked to sign new leases, which include rent adjustments. The timing of this coincided with a routine visit from the fire department, which found that the basement was not up to current basement fire code, and needed additional emergency exiting. We are working closely with our new landlord, the fire department and the city to get our facility in compliance.

Why Exiting is Necessary:

It’s important to note that Make.Shift’s basement currently has two functional exits, and our safety record is exemplary. We take the safety of our tenants and patrons very seriously, and we’re eager to get Make.Shift up to the highest standard of safety. The Bellingham Fire Department notes that additional emergency exiting is necessary for any use that could occur in the basement, not just Make.Shift operations, or live music. If we were to move out of this space, these upgrades would still need to be made in order for the space to be leased for any business, and any type of use. To build this new exit, our property manager Daylight Properties will re-cut the original basement exit opening, which was since filled with concrete. This change to the building will affect a ground-floor building tenant by eliminating some square footage from their space. Since this historic opening is the only viable option for an exit, and since the exit must be installed for any basement tenant and any use, Daylight is working with all tenants to impact their spaces as little as possible.

At What Cost?

As you can imagine, the cost to implement these adjustments is high and will result in an increase to our rent. There are also other likely building improvements that Make.Shift will be responsible for. We will know what these are once the city signs off on the necessary changes to the building. This increase in expenditures was unexpected at this time, so we’re currently conducting a fundraiser to help us get over this hump as we work to find new and innovative ways to sustainably offset this cost increase. We’re proud of our financial track record and are confident we will be able to continue to operate. (If you are interested in our financial details, click here.)

Make.Shift has enjoyed becoming a part of downtown’s art district. We are proud to house more than 20 local bands and 10 local artists at any given time, many of whom have grown here and gone on to open their own studios and businesses. In the last two years we’ve hosted nearly 30 art exhibitions in our award-winning gallery, featuring the art of innovative local and regional artists. In the last year alone we’ve held more than 50 all-ages, drug- and alcohol-free concerts, and we’re proud to participate in local events like Art Walk, Bellingham Rock Camp, Girls Rock Camp, Yellingham, What’s Up! Magazine’s 15th Anniversary, The Make.Shift Block Party, the Holiday Make.Sale, and more.

Looking Toward the Future:

We look forward to offering even more music and art and continuing to be a safe and positive place for people of all ages. We appreciate the incredible support we’ve received from this community, and can’t wait to create new and exciting programming for 2014. If you have any questions please contact us at If you’d like to support Make.Shift as we go through this transitional period, please consider donating here.

We love our patrons, and all the cool things that happen at Make.Shift! We want to hear from you about your favorite moment, show or artwork. Please send your experience (long or short!) to:

Check out our 2013 Financial Reporting

Make.Shift’s awesome programs are made possible by more than just big dreams and youthful idealism. We want you to know where our money comes from and where it goes. Check out our most recent financial reporting below. Have questions? Email us at info(at)
























Alternative Library to Move in October

Exciting news from the Alternative Library: The Library, which has grown incredibly during their year at Make.Shift, plans to move into a larger downtown space of their own as soon as October.

The Alt. Library has been an incredible addition to the Make.Shift family, and we’ll miss their awesome services, volunteers and patrons. But we’re excited to see how the project develops in its new location. We often call Make.Shift an “arts incubator” space, and the Library is a true success story in that way — from their early days at the Sushi House, to their continued growth at Make.Shift, we know their are great things in their future!










Get Make.Shift Up To Code

This is it! Check out this video hot off the press, and help us reach our fundraising goal. Your donations will go directly to keeping Make.Shift’s doors open!



 A fire inspection at Make.Shift Art Space means we cancan no longer provide live, all-ages concerts — until we do major improvements to get our building up to code.

We’re a thriving, financially self-sustaining arts & music hub, but we need your help to make these unforeseen safety improvements. Help us keep the doors of our unique art & music community open!


• We provide studio space for more than 50 local artists and musicians, encouraging artistic development, collaboration, and community building.

• Our drug- and alcohol-free concerts provide a healthy, safe space for more than 700 youth every month.

• We displayed work by more than 200 local and regional artists in our award-  winning gallery last year.

• More than 400 people attend our monthly gallery receptions.

Special thanks to Bill Badgely (Molasses Manifesto) for the video and to Ben Wildenhaus for composing the score. 

Fire Code/Live Shows Update

More than a month after undergoing a recent fire inspection, we have some promising news to share about the potential to have live shows at Make.Shift again:

For the last month we’ve been patiently working on a solution with our landlord and the City of Bellingham that will get our basement up to fire code. Our landlord, Daylight Properties, has developed a plan to install a new exit in our basement. If the city approves it we could have live, all-ages shows again as soon as August. Check out this Stranger article with more info.

These improvements could still mean a big rent increase for Make.Shift, but we’re optimistic! Keep an ear out toward the end of June for a big online fundraiser that will help Make.Shift stay in our building.

Thanks for all the support,

The Make.Shift crew

Thursday Benefit at The Shakedown

Help Make.Shift raise the funds needed to get our building up to fire code so we can host all-ages live shows again!


Thursday 5/23/13 $5-$10 suggested donation, door at 9, music at 10

Dog Shredder
“Dog Shredder are quantum physics. No space left untouched. Garage insanity? The soundtrack to M.I.T.? Blistering connections that were impossible to predict. If you took a bottle of narcotics and got pushed out of an airplane flying to Naked City without a parachute by No Means No and land on John Zorn, you may end up as a Dog Shredder.”

The Narrows

(With Charlie, John, Alec, and Ben – members of Sloths, Livingston Seagull, Swine, and Chambers)