Ames Progressive showcases local artists

Some stand against the wall in the back, bobbing their heads up and down to the catchy melodies. Others prefer to tap their feet to the steady beat as they take sips of hot coffee from their mugs in between songs. And then there’s some who just like to sit still and relax on one of the couches with their eyes closed as they embrace the sententious words coming from the musicians playing on the small stage up front. It’s hard not to get lost one way or another in the songs that local musicians perform; ranging from upbeat tunes to deep ballads. These concerts, hosted by the Ames Progressive, are held in Suite 3 at 118 Hayward Avenue every Tuesday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. The Ames Progressive, an independent media newsletter, has recently started hosting these shows throughout the past month giving local musicians a chance to perform in front of a welcoming and eager audience. “There are no distractions here like in bars and restaurants; the focus is on the performer,” said AHS graduate Greg Bonett, who is one of the editors of The Ames Progressive, “People come here to hear the music, and performers have the chance to go out on a limb and try new things.” The Ames Progressive, which is a non-profit organization, has recently started renting the office on Hayward Avenue for daily business and workspace for their newsletter, as well as holding their events. “Right now most of our public events are music, but we will have poetry readings, yoga classes, and film showings along with a lot of other things,” Bonett said. The low lighting, comfy seating, and artwork by local artists hung on the wall has created a laid-back and comfortable atmosphere between the musicians performing and the people there to listen. “It’s starting to loosen up. The first few times people didn’t know what to expect.” said Kate Kennedy, who is also one of the editors of The Ames Progressive. Currently 40-60 people have been attending Tuesday nights while 15-25 people have been showing up on Sundays. “We definitely have regulars, but we see new people too. We’re hoping it’ll grow by friends bringing friends as well as word of mouth” Kennedy said. All events hosted by The Ames Progressive are free and open to everyone. They will soon be sponsoring a high school writing contest with a cash reward; details can be found on their web site: amesprogressive.org. Musicians interested in performing during one of Tuesdays shows or during one of Sundays open mic nights can contact Kate Kennedy at kate@amesprogressive.org. “We’re really excited about this,” Bonett said, “We’re hoping to have this be a venue for local artists were they can promote their music and people can become more aware of them.”