“Art is not a privilege” Art is not elitist. ‘Art is the soul of our civilization; the beating heart of our humanity; a miracle to which we should bear witness over and over again.” Ford Foundation President, Darren Walker, Arts Action News.
It is thanks to you and your friends, neighbors and colleagues that the Floyd Center for the Arts is 25 years strong this year. And we are grateful for this support. Today we face enormous challenges and I need your support in raising $25,000 for the Art Center.
In the past 9 months the Center’s staff, volunteers and stakeholders have applied this strength and resilience to improving arts opportunity in the midst of a global crisis. We are strong, we are dedicated, and we continue to persevere, but the arts are in trouble, and we need your help to protect them. Concerts, exhibitions, receptions, fundraisers, classes and so many other arts-related events have been cancelled by the thousands throughout the US and the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many organizations to close their doors permanently. Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts/cultural organizations are over $15 billion as of mid-August 2020.
While the Floyd Center for the Arts’ situation is not quite that dire, we are not immune to these cancellations and closures, either. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on our events and programming. The Center was required to shut down entirely for more than 3 months. During the shut down, we cancelled all in-person events, which included classes, fund-raising events, opening receptions and more. The lost revenue from these cancellations has had a significant negative impact on our annual operating budget. Your support Today will ensure the Art Center continues our important mission into 2021.
Now, during these extraordinarily challenging times, we rely on your generosity and support more than ever before to ensure that we can continue this important work. I would like to invite you to join us in our mission by giving to our end-of-year campaign. Your contribution will mean so much more this year thanks to a matched challenge put up by our Board of Directors and other friends. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the challenge grant. For example, that means if you give $500, the Center will receive another $500 from this group. Your support is critical to our region’s success.
We continue to install new exhibitions in our galleries and to develop a schedule of in-person classes and open studio opportunities with many adjustments to ensure the health, safety and well-being of staff, visitors, volunteers and instructors. Here are just a few examples of what we are doing differently in order to serve you, our community, in these challenging times:
Recording all Gallery talks and sharing them on our website and other media outlets
Photographing each piece of art in each exhibit to create virtual tours of our galleries
Launched Kid’s Art Camp to-go in July - 25 kits full of art supplies and project ideas were given to area children who were also invited to return their completed works to be displayed in the Falcon Gallery for the month of September
Developing an ongoing series of youth art classes to go, to allow young artists to continue to create from home. This program is being developed using some of the feedback received from the camp to-go pilot program
We held our first Halloween Kidfest to-go in October, allowing area children to dress up in costume, visit the decorated grounds of the Center, select a pumpkin and pick up a goodie bag filled with art and craft supplies and treats at no charge to participants. We partnered with the June Bug Center on this event, offering a Covid-safe space outdoors for the teen theatre group participants to perform
Reducing or waiving application fees for upcoming gallery exhibits
Working with area artist groups to help promote their virtual and in-person events (for example, a Center staff member has recorded some of the 16 Hands artists to help them with their first virtual tour)
Creating a page on our website to direct visitors to artists’ websites and social media outlets
Creating a virtual Winterfest craft fair and also offering expanded retail display space with reduced commission fees for the month of December to allow Winterfest artists more opportunities to sell their work
Partnering with our neighbor, the June Bug Center to develop family-friendly yet COVID-safe events for the community
Purchased three large tents to allow us to take our programming outdoors while developing plans for a more permanent outdoor facility
Sharing concert video footage and contact information of past performers on our website, in our electronic newsletters and on our social media outlets
The art center reopened in July and has installed new exhibits in its galleries. Nearly every visitor and artist who has viewed these exhibits has taken the time to thank Center staff members for being there and for making art accessible during these unsettling times. The Center has also resumed offering classes with significantly smaller class sizes, allowing community members to learn a new art form while also helping area artists to earn an income by teaching. The board and staff of the Floyd Center have made it a significant goal to improve access to programs and to the facility in general and thanks to the support of the community we are meeting this goal. Our highly accessible programs, like Open Studio, and programs specific to youth like Afternoon Arts are still making an important difference in our community. In addition to the pandemic, another challenge to increasing accessibility to our programs is the funding resources necessary to provide the service. It takes people, spaces, and materials and we need your support to accomplish our goals.
Your investments in the Floyd Center over the years have made a difference to your neighbors, friends and the Floyd community – Thank YOU. So much of what we do is a direct result of your support. I ask you today - continue your steadfast support of the Arts in Floyd by making a recurring monthly donation or one-time significant gift today. Join me, and the Floyd Center for the Arts board by making a generous donation today.