Welcome Back to the Arts!

by ArtsWestchester Board Member Betty Himmel

Yes, we are facing serious problems here and abroad – but the sun is still shining, the flowers are blooming, and the art scene is slowly emerging from the worst of the Covid period.

Of course we are facing challenges, but the mood of the County seems cautiously optimistic.  Families and friends are gathering in outdoor restaurants; music is in the air – both indoors and out; and many arts organizations, given a much needed boost by ArtsWestchester’s recent Restart the Arts initiative, are reporting gradually increasing attendance and support.

Attendance and support are the magic words. Attendance at events depends on a number of safety factors, and these are highly personal decisions. But support is a different matter. Our arts and cultural organizations need our support right now.  Survival during the past several years has required an exceptional degree of determination and hard work, as well as strategic and creative planning. These organizations deserve our respect and admiration for their ability to meet and surmount the challenges of the pandemic. They deserve our gratitude for adding such joy and pleasure to our lives; for stimulating young minds and older sensibilities; and for creating an environment in Westchester that makes living here a gift.

But what they really need now is our support.  They need to pay and reward their staff; to maintain and improve their facilities; and to engage artists. They need to survive, to grow and to continue enriching the lives of the many segments of our population. 

We need to be as generous as possible when we respond to membership drives and other appeals for support. We need to do our part in restarting the arts!

A version of this article first appeared in the July-August 2022 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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 create an equitable, inclusive, vibrant and sustainable Westchester County in which the arts are integral to and integrated into every facet of life. 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 on Mamaroneck Avenue. artsw.org