The History of the Janeway Collective

The Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective was born in January 2019 but the idea that turned into a reality 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 Janeway. More recently Professor Marco Arnuado took to Facebook with the idea in 2017, and Laura Martinez and the Reverend Mary Ann Macklin had, independent of each other, reached out to the city with the idea. These three all helped keep the idea alive and all joined and became valued members of the Collective.

The Collective of today was the initial dream of Mary Beth and Peter Kaczmarczyk, born on Star Trek: The Cruise III. Introductions of “I’m from Bloomington, Indiana, future birthplace of Captain Janeway” soon turned into discussion of how Bloomington needed to acknowledge this fact somehow. By the end of the cruise plans were forming and on January 10, while waiting for a flight home, Peter began texting with City Councilmember Susan Sandberg. The response was positive, and first contact was made.

Mary Beth and Peter spent the next few months building contacts and getting ready to go public. Little did they know that another group had formed and was brainstorming the same idea. A Reddit contingent met in late February, a meeting that included more future Collective members, Lee Lawmaster and Melissa Kocias, as well as another councilmember, 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 overwhelmingly positive and excited.  Soon a call was put out to form a steering committee, and Marco, Laura and Mary Ann all responded, their previous plans still in mind. Jenny Kelly, a coworker who Peter had been brainstorming ideas with for some time, also joined the crew. Finally, Steve Volan had put Peter and Lee in touch, and Lee and Melissa came aboard as well. The crew was almost complete.

During this time meetings had taken place with Sean Starowitz, Bloomington Assistant Director for the Arts. He was open to the idea but made clear we had to do the work. He also gave some advice on financing and the need to find a fiscal sponsor. He mentioned a few names but Artisan Alley, a local creative and educational 501(c)3, stood out as a good fit. Meetings were held with Adam Nahas, Artisan Alley’s founder and Executive Director, and by summer an agreement was reached. Artisan Alley became the official fiscal sponsor of The Collective and Adam joined the crew.

The last person to come aboard was Josh Dinner, who eventually became Media Director. He had seen some of the print graphics and had found them to be, to put it politely, lacking. He contacted Peter, sending a full color promotional flyer as introduction, and volunteered to help with graphics and 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 to completion, 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, IA, and Mary Beth made some early sketches that were discussed. However, the Collective had been encouraged to think big, and with a group of creative types all dedicated to Star Trek at the helm, the monument as it is today began to take shape. By summer of 2019 the real work was ready to begin.

On October 24th, 2020 before a masked and socially distanced pandemic crowd and online viewers from around the globe, they did it.

On May 21st, 2021 the President of the Collective received a determination letter from the IRS.  The Collective had now successfully achieved 501(c)3 non-profit status.

On July 17th, 2021 the President and Treasurer of the Collective signed the final separation paperwork with Artisan Alley.  The Janeway Collective is now a fully independent 501(c)3 non-profit.