A friend recently told me she wasn’t supporting local arts organizations because there were so many life and death situations out there that needed her dollars. Make no mistake, I assured her, this is life or death for the arts – and for artists. Organizations are folding. Individual artists – the bands who play at your favorite bar, the musicians who sit on the symphony stage, actors, dance companies and ballroom teachers -- are now without any income. Many are non-salaried, complicating unemployment. Stage hands, the costume makers, the production teams, the writers, sound and lighting technicians, movie theaters, regional theaters, venues like the Birchmere and Carlyle Club all are hanging on by a thread if they are even still here.
Why should Alexandrians care? Our symphonies, theaters, dance, music groups, and art galleries, as well as restaurants and history, are what make Alexandria a great place for families, a desirable place for businesses to locate, and the hometown we Alexandrians love and take pride in. As winter approaches and the window of opportunity for outside performances narrows, the future of the arts in Alexandria is indeed a life and death matter.
When Andrew Mellon proposed building an art gallery for the nation, he asked Congress to agree to take on the operations and maintenance. Congress, like my friend, understandably balked at supporting “art” when people were in bread lines and homeless. Fortunately for us all, Congress ultimately voted to accept the gift of the National Gallery.
Saturday night Oct. 25 you will have a chance to support 23 Alexandria arts organizations by tuning in to an hour-long arts gala. The fundraising event will stream on the Alexandria Arts Alliance Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsALXAlliance/. Viewers will be invited to donate through text-to-give, and the gala will be viewable after the event. Donations are welcome at any time at https://alexandria-arts-alliance.snwbll.com/act4-artsalx or can be sent to ACT for Alexandria, 201 N Union Street, Suite 110, Alexandria VA 22314. Please designate donations as ACT4#ArtsALX. For more information, visit http://www.alexandriaartsalliance.org/act-4-artsalx.html.
Homegrown Restaurant Group will donate 10% from all take-out orders mentioning ACT4#ArtsALX on the evening of the event. Thank you to Holy Cow, Pork Barrel BBQ, The Sushi Bar, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, and Whiskey & Oyster. Grab dinner and head home to watch the show!