ArtsGreensboro Celebrates 60 Years of Service in the Arts

Greensboro, NC. – ArtsGreensboro has many reasons to celebrate its 60th anniversary of supporting the arts in greater Greensboro. Instead, they’re focusing on building a resilient and sustainable arts sector for the next sixty years. The arts have taken a hit this year with numerous cancellations resulting in a loss of approximately $17 million in just four months, putting the arts at great risk. 

Luckily, ArtsGreensboro leaned in immediately by launching the Greensboro Artist Emergency Relief Fund (GAERF), which distributed weekly checks to artists who lost income due to cancellations. The GAERF supported almost 200 local artists in economic hardship over four months, totaling approximately $100,000 in relief funds.

In Guilford County, arts and culture organizations with programs that are directly related to the creation, education, preservation, presentation of arts or cultural programming, and be the primary presenter/producer of the work and responsible for all aspects of its provision to the community were eligible to apply for a North Carolina CARES for Arts grant.

ArtsGreensboro President and CEO Laura Way, along with Debbie Lumpkins, Executive Director, High Point Arts Council, worked with Guilford County Commissioners to allocate a lifeline of $500,000 specifically for arts organizations CARES funding.

"My job and Debbie's job is to figure out how to help mitigate that continued income loss in the arts community." Way said in an interview with the News & Record. "How do we try to help organizations stay intact and able to plan for reopening? That's the intent of this money, is to make sure that at a baseline level, there is a lifeline to reopening."

The arts councils, in cooperation with the county, created a community advisory panel to review applications and make grant recommendations. The county made the final decisions on award grants to organizations. CLICK HERE for a full list of grant recipients.

While working with the county on CARES funding after launching the GAERF, it became inherently apparent that many artists and organizations do not have business fundamentals in place to plan for sustainability through the pandemic. Understanding the importance of capacity building, ArtsGreensboro took the initiative again and partnered with the DeVos Institute of Arts Management to assess Guilford County’s arts sector’s health and vitality. Recommendations from an assessment of 36 arts organizations in Greensboro and High Point will be presented by “turnaround expert for the arts,” Michael Kaiser of the DeVos Institute on December 22. The assessment focuses on artistic choices and planning, marketing strategies, donor and board composition, creative development, and financial stability. ArtsGreensboro covered the assessment cost as part of the Reentry and Reinvent Campaign and will formalize the recommendations as an action plan to optimize our arts community with a new cultural, financial, and philanthropic landscape.

ArtsGreensboro’s core values center around access, inclusion, and equity. After the unrest in Greensboro post-George Floyd, ArtsGreensboro retained the Racial Equity Institute to offer a 4.5-hour Groundwater Training Session to the arts community. Over 70 arts leaders participated in the session, and ArtsGreensboro continues to evaluate its work through the lens of equity and inclusion.

ArtsGreensboro is being recognized for its work around access, inclusion, and equity. This fall, it received the Ella Fitzgerald Award from Welfare Reform Liaison Project, Inc. Recognized for embodying the love and work of the arts, impacting the community through service, knowledge, participation, and support, ArtsGreensboro accepted the award during a virtual awards reception in November.

"ArtsGreensboro is the canvas of Greensboro, and its contributions to art in the community are the colorful palettes and brushes that highlight the beauty, significance, and necessity of the arts," mentioned in the award letter from the Welfare Reform Liaison Project, Inc.