It is quite a miracle that arts and culture in Westchester has survived—not without painful cuts and closings, but certainly still intact and gearing up for a robust comeback. Yes, we are battered financially but spiritually undaunted, secure in the economic value and higher purpose of our collective mission and humbly grateful to those who quietly and without fanfare supported the collective arts community and the individual venues and creators during this bitter crisis.
There is still much to do to rebuild and restore our structural and human assets. Most impacted has been our artist community, 63% of whom nationally are out of work. Thank you to all those who contributed to our Artist Relief Fund through which we were able to give grants to some 30 artists. We will continue to be that portal to assist them. Thank you to our Westchester County government for continuing cultural funding as budgeted and for supporting the myriad virtual workshops and streamed programs our community produced during the pandemic. We all learned how to gracefully pivot, and in the process, we enlarged our online audiences. We thank our County Executive and 17 county legislators who funded a $250,000 Challenge Grant Program that spurred our community to raise another $754,000 in private donations. Thank you to the more than 2000 donors who matched these funds. Many thank yous to our loyal friends, corporations, foundations, agencies small businesses who continued our funding uninterrupted. We will continue to be a safety net for the community, providing things to do and places to go. Thank you to the Examiner and the Westchester Business Journal who publish our ArtsNews online and a hearty bravo to our partnership with Today Media. Getting the word out is so vitally important to us all. It may seem like a small thing, but we’re grateful to all those who supported and with good cheer attended our many virtual fundraisers. Now, that’s dedication!
A million thanks to our state legislators whose leadership shined ever so brightly as they allocated one million dollars to Restart the Arts in Westchester and Rockland. What they did will of course help our 150 cultural affiliates. But it will do more than that. It will help restore life as we once knew it. It will help us all gather together once again. It may even give us renewed hopefulness for an equitable and prosperous future. It may encourage others to do similar life affirming acts of kindness and revitalization. Now wouldn’t that be a great legacy to celebrate in the months to come? Indeed!
With our appreciation,