Editor’s Note: This collective statement was provided by a group of Seacoast arts and culture organizations. Find links to contribute to each organization at the bottom.
In times of crisis we come together. Current safety measures now prevent us from doing so in person. This new reality is leaning in on us; its shadow leaving area arts and cultural organizations, and many others around the world, dark.
In the spirit of collaboration, we, the Portsmouth area arts nonprofits, make this united call to action to ensure that our community’s cherished cultural organizations survive the impact of COVID-19.
We are in immediate financial danger. Every sale and contribution matters. Even a three-month closure is devastating for individual artists, staff, and the local businesses that benefit from their audiences – like restaurants, hotels, and shops. Some of our venues could be forced to close their doors forever. We are coming together now to ask you, our community, to support us at this critical time.
We are, as Roald Dahl says, the music-makers and we are the dreamers of dreams – artists, event organizers, fans, supporters, and students. We share a deep philosophical belief in the communal power of art and the overall power of community and reach out today to channel that power.
The arts and culture of this region are more than a pastime. They are a powerful economic force. In the three month timeframe ahead of us, the signers below estimate this collective impact: $700,000 reaching individual artists, 200,000 audience members served, and 250 local individuals employed, 85 at full-time levels.
As important as economic impact, if not more, the Seacoast’s arts community is part and parcel of who we are. It helps define us and unite us. The arts bring priceless beauty, wonder, inspiration and insight to our neighborhoods and into the minds and hearts of their patrons. They spark the flames countless community members rally around for warmth and company.
We all know the mantra, “The show must go on.” In the arts world, that’s equally true on both sides of the curtain. It will take the entire community – from both sides of the curtain – to ensure our lush and robust culture, an emblem of our region, continues on.
We recognize that this is a challenging time for everyone. Like other community businesses, area arts and cultural organizations face an existential crisis posed by indeterminate closures, the length of which will be decided by the fortitude of a virus. The threat we face stems not only from the loss of ticket, concession, merchandise, membership and season pass revenue, but from an almost-certain impending pull-back on philanthropy. Generosity from you, as members of the business community and as individuals, is what keeps the arts accessible. Advocates, enthusiasts and philanthropists are invited to please join us, share this message, and contribute as you can.
Things are moving quickly. Please know we acknowledge the efforts and contributions of all area arts nonprofits and invite them to join us and share this message too.
We already profoundly miss the opportunity to gather together and connect over art, and we are dedicated to ensuring that opportunity awaits us on the other side of COVID-19.
May music and art bring you peace of mind at this challenging moment in time.
Wishing all in our community good health.
The Dance Hall
New Hampshire Theatre Project
The Players’ Ring
Prescott Park Arts Festival
Portsmouth Historical Society
Portsmouth Music and Arts Center
Seacoast Repertory Theatre
Seven Stages Shakespeare Co.
Strawbery Banke Museum
The Music Hall
WSCA 106.1 FM – Portsmouth Community Radio
Learn how to contribute directly to local artists and arts professionals here.