March 16, 2020
We will get through this together. The one thing I know about the people of Columbus is that we come together to help each other, especially when the going gets tough and the times turn bad. Sadly, while the next few months or longer will certainly be challenging, I know that we can count on each other to make it through.
When I read of the people of Italy, quarantined for more than a week now, who have begun singing and playing music from their balconies, I am reminded that in times of deep fear and despair the arts can provide a critical lifeline to our humanity. Our soul-deep need for beauty, love and compassion drives us to turn to the arts when fear feels like the only possible response.
The Greater Columbus Arts Council is committed to helping our artists and cultural organizations manage this unprecedented, worldwide crisis. Late last week, we issued advance final payments to arts organizations on grants already awarded and we extended the deadline for our largest grant program, Operating Support. The health and financial well-being of the artists and cultural organizations in our community are of great concern to us and we are continuing to look for ways we can help. Updates on our work, local and national resources, and grants to help artists and organizations will be posted on our GCAC Resources for COVID-19page.
Below are a few suggestions for things you can do:
If you have tickets to attend an arts or cultural event that has been cancelled consider not requesting a refund if you are able. Every little bit will help. Be sure to connect to the host organizations’ social media sites to see if they are hosting virtual events or showing past shows to stay connected. Shout out to funders like The Johnstone Fund for New Music for paying performers for an upcoming series of concerts that were cancelled.
Again, if you can, consider making donations to Columbus cultural and social service organizations, even if it’s only $5. As above, every little bit will help.
Artists and organizations are starting to be creative in the way they share their art and earn a living virtually. Support them. Check the social accounts of your favorite artists to see what they are up to, or visit our page on ColumbusMakesArt.com to see what we’ve collected in virtual experiences (and submit your own!)
Support local restaurants by ordering carryout or delivery, or share kindness by giving restaurant gift cards to artists, furloughed friends or healthcare workers.
Take care of yourself and those you love. Practice social distancing as much as you can and follow proper health and safety procedures, but most importantly stay connected to family and friends through video, phone and social.
Be as kind, compassionate and as generous as you can with others. We are all fighting feelings of fear, disconnection and loneliness—cultivating the best parts of our humanity is one of our best defenses.
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.