Art$WChallenge Raises More than $1 Million for Arts & Culture

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Art$WChallenge Raises more than $1 Million for Arts & Culture
Legislators & ArtsWestchester distribute more than $353,000 in matching grants

  • Since its inception in 2007, the Art$WChallenge has raised more than $4.7 Million in private monies.
  • The 2020 Art$WChallenge raised a record-breaking $1,111,746 for the arts in Westchester.
  • The 2020 Art$WChallenge expanded the grant program to 126 arts groups.

White Plains, N.Y. (January 27, 2021)ArtsWestchester will honor County Executive George Latimer and the Board of Legislators on January 29 for their partnership in the 2020 Art$WChallenge Grant campaign that raised $1,111,746 for 85 local arts and culture organizations.

“This unprecedented outpouring of private support for large and small arts groups throughout the county demonstrates the high esteem that many Westchester residents have for the vital role art and culture plays in our collective quality of life,” said Janet Langsam, ArtsWestchester’s CEO. “We are grateful to all this year’s arts donors and especially thankful to our County Executive and our County legislators for their longtime commitment to the arts and for investing an additional $250,000 in matching funds into the 2020 Challenge program at a time when the arts are struggling. Their additional investment enabled 60 cultural organizations to participate for the first time in this important grant program at this unprecedented time.”

The Art$WChallenge enabled local groups to raise $757,993 from private donors by December 31, 2020, which was matched by $353,753 in county funding. The amount of private donations raised was the most raised by the campaign since it launched in 2007.

“Despite the havoc caused by COVID-19, the Westchester arts community has rallied in a way that continues to provide engaging virtual and in-person cultural programs for county residents,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “However, to support these programs, given the canceled events and decline in ticket sales, groups have had to get creative with fundraising. This is where the Art$WChallenge matching grant program helped.”

Benjamin Boykin, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators said the Art$WChallenge program is a powerful example of a public/private partnership that pays dividends for the economy.

“Since the inception of the Art$WChallenge in 2007, a total of $4.7 million in private money has been raised and invested in Westchester County’s cultural sector,” said Boykin. “This investment makes good sense when you consider that, pre-COVID, on an annual basis, arts and culture added $172.3 million in total economic activity to Westchester.”
ArtsWestchester invited 126 local groups to participate in the Art$WChallenge, which was most impactful for small groups.

“We collected almost $5,000 in donations” said Kinga Lesniak of the Nowodworski Foundation, which participated in the Challenge for the first time. “That may be small money for big organizations, but for us it’s really important.”

“There were many unknowns when transitioning to virtual events, but the Art$WChallenge program energized our outreach and helped us reach our fundraising goal,” said Katherine Vockins of Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

“The Art$WChallenge continues to be an incredibly helpful tool to encourage new contributions from our growing family of patrons. This year’s increased Challenge was a success, including 21 new gifts averaging $100 each and a single matching gift of over $5,000,” said Elliot Fox of the Emelin Theatre.

ArtsWestchester’s Art$WChallenge Legislative Thank You event will take place on Zoom on January 29 at 10 a.m. For more information about ArtsWestchester, visit

About ArtsWestchester
For more than 50 years, ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965, it is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support, to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts, exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998, ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations, and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building in downtown White Plains.