March 20, 2020 Statement from the Art Center East Board of Directors
As you know, Art Center East has ceased operations in order to play our part in limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our community. However, closure puts Art Center East in a precarious position. We rely on income from class registrations, gallery sales, and building rentals to keep our doors open. In normal times, earned income is a stronger fiscal foundation than grant funding. Now, going without these resources for a week is damaging; maintaining an extended closure is not financially feasible.
The Art Center East Board of Directors had an emergency meeting this week to assess the situation. In order to reduce expenses immediately, they made the difficult decision to furlough all part-time staff and limit the Executive Director’s hours to half-time. They are reaching out to foundations to see what emergency operating funds may be available. As a non-profit organization, we have limited reserves. Nearly all the grant funding we receive is allocated to programming and cannot be spent for staff or overhead expenses. Without staff to plan and promote programming, we cannot continue applying for grants. Without programming, there is no Art Center East.
Outside support is crucial at this time. Art Center East will be able to pay its bills through April 5. After that date, remaining staff will be furloughed, utilities cut off, and insurance cancelled. Shortly after, the Art Center East non-profit would likely be dissolved, earmarked funds returned to funders, and the building vacated. The Board recognizes the economic ripple effect this would have on the artists who make a portion of their income through ACE classes, galleries, and events. We do not want this scenario to play out, and we need your support to prevent it.
In order to maintain the overhead costs required to stay open (basic utilities, insurance, one part-time staff), we need to raise $8,000 by the end of April. We hope that staying afloat through April will give us time to access emergency funding and either develop new income streams or return to normal operation. We recognize it is a difficult time to ask, but we want to give our community the chance to help keep Art Center East going. This is an SOS - please share with friends and family who may be able to help:
DONATE. The situation is dire, and we need cash on hand to pay our April bills and make it to May.
BECOME A MEMBER. Membership funds go toward operational costs and act like a donation with benefits.
BUY ONE OF DON GRAY'S PAINTINGS. He is offering his beautiful realist and contemporary paintings to benefit ACE at 70% off.
Rent studio space. Without classes, our studios are empty right now. In an attempt to generate cash flow, we are offering them up for rental. Think: a place and time to work on your art, a remote working site (now that cafes and the library are closed), a space to bring your kids to work on an art project (limited to your own children only), or anything else you can dream up. In order to allow for responsible social distancing, we will limit rentals to one person at a time in our small studios, and up to three at a time in our large studio. Rental minimums and schedules are flexible - contact us with your need and we will do our best to accommodate you. With few places to "get out of the house" an ACE studio rental might offer a much needed retreat. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mood out there is heavy - we’re all fearful for our health, our security, our ability to maintain self-quarantine for an undetermined length of time. Everyone is making sacrifices and facing hardship. We wouldn’t ask right now if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. The arts - with their ability to connect and inspire - will play an important role in our collective ability to make it through this experience, and they have limited representation in our isolated rural communities. We want to be there for you on the other side.