Based on the Vera club in Groningen, Netherlands, Seattle's VERA Project was founded in 2001 by James Keblas, Shannon Stewart (both studied at the University of Groningen in 1999), and Kate Becker (founder of the Old Redmond Firehouse), along with the help of many other community organizers and the City of Seattle.
The VERA Project aims to be a place for youth and people supportive of an all-ages atmosphere to create social change, strong community ties, and education opportunities through popular music, placing importance on a non-hierarchial internal structure and "participatory culture." While Vera is often viewed as primarily an all-ages indie and hip hop club, the organization also offers learning opportunities such as the sound engineering program, internships, workshops, silk-screening classes, event production training and more, as a way to empower young people.
The Vera Project's first event was hosted on January 27, 2001 at the IBEW Local 46 and featured local artists The Murder City Devils, Botch and The Blood Brothers. Almost 1,000 people attended including local press and city officials. The Vera Project went on to host several more shows at IBEW Local 46 and then moved on to the Theatre Off Jackson when their lease expired at the IBEW Local 46. The Vera Project hosted shows at the Theatre Off Jackson until they found a longer lasting home at 1916 4th Ave that would be demolished a few years later for new development. The Vera Project hosted shows at various venues in Seattle until their current location, the corner of Warren Ave N. and Republican at the Seattle Center, was finished. The new Vera is open for business and hosting about two shows a week, along with a variety of other arts and media-related programming.