In these troubled social and economic times, it may seem difficult to place a high priority on the arts when businesses are closing, many people are facing severe economic hardship, and the health of our communities are threatened at every turn. But we must believe that there is a light at the end of this dark and perhaps very long tunnel. And when we emerge, there are two things people will want to do: one, go out and buy ice cream; and the second is to gather in a public place and share a cultural and artistic experience.
We may have taken community events for granted in the past but that will no longer be the case in the future. Our company produces the only professional theatre work within 100 miles in any direction. We want and our community needs us to step back into the leadership position in performing arts that we currently hold. We can only hope that our donors can step up and match their contributions of past years. But we sincerely doubt that will be the case: we have a relatively large donor base but most of our contributors donate $100 or less. These are folks who will be the hardest hit by our current crisis. Many of the business sponsors we’ve depended on in the past will not be able to provide advertising and sponsorship support this year. So we are budgeting accordingly. That means it’s critical that everyone do what they can to fill in this gap.
It may be cliche to quote “Man does not live by bread alone” but as we huddle in our caves doing our best to protect the greater public health, we know that a day will come when we can provide the much needed supplement to the bread on which we have been subsisting for the past and future weeks or months. We’ve got the highly skilled artists available to meet the task. We’re asking for your financial assistance to ensure we can provide for them to do their jobs.
In the end, they’re just people doing jobs like humans in any other occupations; and they deserve the same consideration and support. As importantly, their jobs contribute to our sense of community and quality of life. In these sometimes desperate hours, it’s the artists who are live streaming their work, or airing videos of past performances, or performing home concerts and stage readings that are providing relief to those of us who are unable to leave our homes. In the days and months to come, it will be the artists who will give moments of respite to a lonely and weary world. If we don’t support their work now, these moments will be gone.