In these days of COVID-19, ArtsWestchester did a thoroughly unscientific survey of the state of the arts in Westchester. Here are some takeaways from the 57 respondents: 87 percent of the organizations have not fared well financially; 63 percent have lost more than half their revenue; 80 percent have converted programs to digital; 62 percent said that the transition to digital programming was difficult; 65 percent said they would continue offering virtual programs beyond the pandemic. Kudos to Westchester County Government for their support.
“We’re so lucky this year that, for the first time, we are allowed to participate in the Art$WChallenge. Our main source of funding is our yearly fundraising gala, and it can’t happen this year. So far we collected almost $5,000. That may be small money for big organizations, but for us it’s really important.” – Kinga Lesniak, Nowodworski Foundation
“We greatly appreciate ArtsWestchester’s efforts to keep arts front-and-center in the County during these difficult times. With the current rise in COVID-19 cases pushing the day that we can again welcome audiences to our theaters further into the future, this funding becomes ever so much more important.” – Seth Soloway, Performing Arts Center at Purchase College
“The vocal arts organizations of Westchester are in danger of dissolution–we fully anticipate the loss/reorganization/merger of some of our groups in the coming year. What rises up from the ashes will be different.” – Hudson Chorale
“We have a deep gratitude for all that Westchester County Government and ArtsWestchester have done in sustaining Hudson Stage Company for these past 22 years. We wouldn’t survive without their support. County funds have made it possible for us to stay alive, grow and thrive. With the pandemic raging around us, and the uncertainty of our future, I am reminded of Stella Adler’s quote: ‘Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one!'” – Denise Bessette, Hudson Stage Company
“All of us at Historic Hudson Valley are heartened by the recommended two percent increase in funding for ArtsWestchester in the 2021 County Budget. Supporting the arts through ArtsWestchester has a direct and profound impact on the artists who interpret the world around us, the businesses that benefit from ancillary spending in their communities, and the visitors who rely on the enriching events and programs that our cultural and historic organizations provide.” –Waddell Stillman, Historic Hudson Valley
“People very much wanted to be back at the gallery and immersed in art. It was touching and really gave us a sense of pride about what we do and how it impacts.” – Urban Studio Unbound
“Receiving a PPP Loan was a huge help financially and the support from our alums has been another financial support. Our faculty, board and staff has been tremendous.” – Shelley Grantham, Steffi Nossen School of Dance
“Twice a week, dozens of seniors living with Parkinson’s Disease log into Zoom and dance in their homes, separated by space but brought together by music, dance and friendship. These classes, like so many of our programs, are free. They simply wouldn’t be possible without support from the County.” – Adam Levi, Rye Arts Center
“The Katonah Museum of Art relies on funding from Westchester County to help us to continue offering exceptional exhibitions and innovative educational programs for our community. We are very grateful for the support.” – Michael Gitlitz, Katonah Museum of Art
“There needs to be a lot more help in getting venues to reopen, and/or financial support to stay open, in order to be able be here when this all settles.” – Anonymous
“Remote programming can help us reach more older adults who don’t have access to community facilities.” – Lifetime Arts
“There are many unknowns when transitioning to virtual events, but the Art$WChallenge program has energized our outreach and is helping us to reach the fundraising goal for our upcoming event.” – Katherine Vockins, Rehabilitation Through the Arts
A version of this article first appeared in the December-January issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNewsis distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.