The History of the Janeway Collective

While the Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective was born in January 2019, the idea of recognizing the Captain’s Bloomington-based roots had been around almost as long as Star Trek: Voyager itself. In the depths of the internet, one can find ancient chat room discussions about Bloomington needing a marker for Captain Kathryn Janeway. Professor Marco Arnuado took to Facebook with the idea in 2017. Additionally, Laura Martinez and the Reverend Mary Ann Macklin, independent of each other, had reached out to the city of Bloomington with the same idea. These three individuals all helped keep the initial idea alive and petitioned to find supporters.

After some time had passed, Mary Beth Aich and Peter Kaczmarczyk got inspired while on vacation aboard, “Star Trek: The Cruise III”. Mary Beth’s warm and humorous greeting to fellow cruisers, of “Hi! I’m from Bloomington, Indiana, the future birthplace of Captain Janeway,” soon turned into a serious discussion of how Bloomington really needed a statue to honor Captain Janeway like the one they have for Captain Kirk in Riverside, Iowa (only better). By the end of the cruise, plans were forming, and on January 10, 2019, while waiting for a flight home, Peter began texting with City of Bloomington Council member Susan Sandberg, about the logistics of making something happen. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the first contact was made to recognize Captain Janeway. 


Mary Beth and Peter spent the next few months building contacts from the past parties, all interested in making the monument dream happen and getting ready to invite the public to support this initiative. Little did they know that another group had formed and was also brainstorming the exact same idea. This unknown Reddit contingent met in late February, and included future Collective members, Lee Lawmaster, Melissa Kocias, as well as City of Bloomington Council member, Steve Volan. 


On March 31, 2019 Mary Beth and Peter, launched the Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective Facebook group. The idea of honoring Janeway was shared, including a proposal for the city, and the response was undeniably uplifting and exciting. Soon a call was put out to form a steering committee, and Marco, Laura, and Mary Ann all responded, with their overlapping vision still in mind. Additionally, Jenny Kelly who had separately been brainstorming a Janeway Project idea for some time, also joined the crew. Finally, Steve Volan put Peter in touch with the Reddit initiative, and Lee and Melissa came aboard as well. The crew was nearly complete, however fundraising and project management still needed to be addressed and the collective needed help from skilled professionals to be able to make this collective dream, a reality. 


During April, meetings had taken place with Sean Starowitz, Bloomington Assistant Director for the Arts. He was willing to assist in the idea but it made clear we had to do the work to . He also gave some advice on financing and the need to find an appropriate fiscal sponsor.  mentioned a few names and after some research, the same organization kept coming up in conversations, Artisan Alley. This local artist collective and educational 501(c)3 charitable organization, quickly stood out as the best fit. Meetings were held with Founder and Executive Director Adam Nahas, and by mid-May, a fiscal sponsorship agreement was reached, for fundraising support, and creative assistance. Artisan Alley became the official fiscal sponsor of the Captain Janeway Collective during the conception, fabrication, and installation of the collective project, and Adam joined the Collective crew as the Project Manager. 


The last person to come aboard was Josh Dinner, who became the Media Director of the Collective. He had seen some of the printed graphics the Collective was putting out during the initial phases and felt he could improve the quality of our marketing efforts. He contacted the collective, by sending a full-color promotional flyer as an introduction and resume, and volunteered to help with graphics and social media promotion. His skill set matched up perfectly, filling the last big need of the Collective, and with his addition the Steering Committee that would oversee the project, was complete. 


One big issue still had to be decided: What was this monument to Captain Janeway going to be? Early ideas had been modest, perhaps a bench like the Captain Kirk bench in Riverside, Iowa. Mary Beth made some early sketches that were initially discussed, however, the Collective had been encouraged to think big by arts advocate Miah Michaelson. And so they did. By the winter of 2019 the design was finished and the many artisans and craftspeople needed for its creation began to be hired and enlisted and the monument as you see it today began to take shape.


After about 9 months of design adjustments, element creation, and collaboration the monument was complete, and on October 24th, 2020, on the B-Line Trail, before a masked/socially-distanced crowd as well as online viewers from around the globe, the statue was unveiled. Captain Janeway was finally home. Kate Mulgrew attended virtually and was very pleased with the monument to her greatest character.


In the following months The Collective began the work of becoming it’s own independent entity. They created by-laws and a formal membership policy, and soon received a determination letter from the IRS that they had been granted their own 501(c)3 non-profit status. On July 17th, 2021 The Collective separated from Artisan Alley and is now a fully independent charitable organization that promotes STEAM initiatives and helps to maintain the Janeway statue that is dedicated to the accomplishments of those inspired by the character of Captain Janeway.