As the country begins to reopen, the reliance on arts, music, culture, entertainment and tourism will continue to see a high demand. With limited opportunities for artists and art organizations to seek financial support, many programs/services previously offered may no longer be available.

To assist local arts organizations and to keep the arts vibrant, Berks Arts has kicked off an Arts Relief Campaign to raise $300,000 in support of arts organizations and local artists.

“The Board has committed personally over $100,000 to the campaign. It is imperative that as a community we keep the arts strong, vibrant, accessible and available during this unprecedented time and beyond” said Jim Landrigan, Treasurer of Berks Arts Board of Directors.

The arts community has taken an active role in providing opportunities for individuals, families and communities to use art for healing, as a coping mechanism, as a tool for inspiration and to engage with social distancing.

In addition, many artists (novice, amateur and professional) have turned to supporting our local health and human service organization with the creation of PPE equipment needed for their safety.

“Every day, children, adults, seniors, veterans, schools, non-profits, businesses and government utilize varying art forms for entertainment, inspiration, education, therapeutically and healing” said Berks Arts officials.

“Not a day goes by that each of our own personal lives are not impacted by the arts. From listening to the radio, watching a favorite movie, dancing, crafting, playing an instrument to painting and more… what would our day be without the arts???”

A survey of Berks County arts organizations has shown that 80% of programs in 2020 have been cancelled or rescheduled and the 2021 season will be significantly impacted by financial constraints.

Many local arts organizations will go into “hibernation” to rebuild for 2021 and 2022 and lean more heavily on volunteers as staff will be reduced. The loss of community and economic funds to our local community based on arts programs is well over $12 million for 2020.

Keith Mooney, Berks Arts Board President, shared that the campaign has two focuses:

1) To provide financial support to Berks Arts to continue offering education programs, collaborations and presentations to our local community.

2) To provide grants to local artists and art organizations to provide education, virtual, plein aire and other arts programs supported by their missions. Funding would be allocated based on the amount of funds raised and number of applications received. Applications and grant process would be managed by Berks Arts.

More information can be found at: berksarts.org. Berks Arts invites those who love the arts and cultural scene to join in addressing the urgent needs of the artists, creatives and art organizations in the community.