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Viewpoint: Delaware arts organizations seek community support during difficult time

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To Our Local Arts-Culture-Heritage Fans, Friends, and Family:

Right now is an unprecedented time for our community. The local arts, culture, and heritage community, like many nationwide, will likely be hit especially hard. COVID-19 has caused a great deal of change, and we are all facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Our government leaders have made the hard but necessary choice to ban mass gatherings of people, and nobody is sure how long this may go on. This directly affects the arts and culture sector, as we will most likely be unable to sell admissions and host events for an extended period of time.

Our cultural community is facing a major loss in revenue. Arts and culture, by their very nature, need an audience. Although this creative community will continue to find innovative ways to connect with you, and to share content digitally, gathering is at the heart of what we do. That experience can’t be delivered to your doorstep, or available for curbside pickup. And in addition to the impact on our organizations, the performers, artists, curators, technicians, and administrative staff are likely to have personal financial struggles through the coming weeks and months.

We are coming to you now to ask for your immediate and continued support of local arts, culture, and heritage organizations, even as we temporarily shutter our doors. There are three easy ways you can help through these uncertain times: make a donation, buy a gift certificate, and talk to your legislators.

Make a donation. Most of the organizations listed in this letter are nonprofit organizations, which means that we re-invest any profits from our exhibitions and performances back into our mission, rather than to shareholders. As nonprofit organizations, it also means we can accept tax-deductible donations! This is by far the best thing you can do immediately. A pledge for monthly support is also a wonderful way to provide sustained income as we work to recover in the coming months. Finally, if you bought a ticket to an exhibition or performance that gets cancelled, please consider turning the value of that ticket into a donation, rather than asking for a refund.

Buy a gift certificate or membership. Many local organizations have the ability to issue gift certificates that patrons can use for future admission. Please check the websites of those you enjoy to see if they provide gift certificates or memberships. Treat your future self to an afternoon or evening of entertainment and enlightenment, and once life returns to normal we look forward to welcoming you back!

Talk to your legislators. There will likely be multiple bills put forth on the state and national levels for economic relief of those affected by COVID-19, including some now in the US Senate. Please reach out to your legislators now and let them know that nonprofit arts, culture, and heritage organizations and individual artists should be included in these relief packages. If you are not sure how to best reach out to your legislators, or if you would like access to resources such as pre-written communications, you can connect with the Delaware Arts Alliance. Resources can be found at delawareartsalliance.org.

This crisis is going to have a dramatic impact on all of us. We are a strong and resilient community, and we have the opportunity to support one another through the challenges that lie ahead. We can make it through this together, but local arts, culture, and heritage organizations need you to help weather this storm. Once COVID-19 passes, we will still be facing financial gaps and tight budgets, and will likely be asking for your support to offset our losses. Please have patience as we get back on your feet. We are all dedicated to bringing you amazing cultural experiences.

We look forward to seeing you once again to share in the enjoyment of our rich local arts, culture, and heritage, together.

Until then, be safe, be kind, be hopeful.

Signed by more than 45 organizations representing Delaware’s arts culture and heritage community — Arts at Trinity, Biggs Museum, Bootless Stageworks, Brandywine Baroque, Choir School of Delaware, Christina Cultural Arts Center, Cityfest, Inc, City Theatre Company, Clear Space Theatre Company, CoroAllegro, Creative Vision Factory, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Children’s Museum, Delaware Children’s Theatre, Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Historical Society, Delaware Institute for Arts in Education, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Shakespeare, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Theatre Company, First State Ballet Theatre, Gable Music Ventures, Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hagley Museum and Library, inWilmington, Light Up The Queen Foundation, Market Street Music, Melomanie, Mt. Cuba Center, Music School of Delaware, Nemours Estate, OperaDelaware, Pieces of a Dream, Rehoboth Art League, Riverfront Development Corporation, Spur Impact, The Candlelight Theater, The Grand Opera House & The Playhouse on Rodney Square, The Joshua M Freeman Foundation, The Freeman Stage, Wilmington Ballet, Wilmington City Council, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Wilmington Classical Guitar Society, and Winterthur


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