On March 19, disbelief set in while I hung signs on our doors closing the Lumberyard Arts Center. Feelings of sadness and loss were quickly intermingled with urgency to ensure fiscal sustainability and relevancy. Given our capacity–largely dependent on voluntarism–how could we provide meaningful arts engagement given this new reality?
Embracing our core values of creativity and community, we launched “Face Masks for Baldwin City” to connect the arts with community need. To date, 50 community members volunteered to engage with the arts center. They have created 3,260 face masks for 32 Baldwin City businesses and hundreds of citizens. In addition to “Face Masks For Baldwin City,” the board and I have worked behind the scenes to:
- secure two grants from the Douglas County Community Foundation – one to support our boutique development and the second to support “Face Masks for Baldwin City.”
- secure a grant from the Small Business Administration – Paycheck Protection Program.
- submit grants to the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission – Strategic Investment Program and Short Term Operational Support.
- collaborated with the Friends of the Baldwin Library and City of Baldwin City to secure a grant from Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council for arts programming related to the story of Lucy Sweet Sullivan and Baldwin City history (**More exciting news to come from the Baldwin City Library!).
- grew membership to 26 corporate members and 44 individual memberships, resulting in membership revenue exceeding $15,000.
- plan our summer and fall gallery shows with Gallery Coordinator, Melinda Hipple.
- plan our summer and fall arts programming, that we will be launching in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!
- implement the creation of our boutique that will highlight local artists and provide you with local art to purchase.
- Welcomed a new board member, Jennifer Burkhead!
What’s missing from this list? Well…we would love nothing more than to swing our doors wide open, greet you all with enthusiastic hugs and smiles with a fabulous 10 year anniversary celebratory arts gala next week. Instead, the board and I will hunker down to thoroughly review our drafted re-opening guidelines at our board meeting next Thursday with a plan to open in limited capacity week of June 2. We will share our re-opening guidelines with you in the upcoming weeks.
We love our Lumberyard Arts Center members, volunteers, teachers and our Baldwin City! Thank you for your support and patience as the board and I work through our public re-opening. We will be creating new programs and new operations but we will always be the cornerstone for the visual and performing arts in our community.
Creating community through the arts ~