This Moment Brought to You by Donors
There are many moments I’ve had as an artist, volunteer, and director in the local arts scene that have touched my heart. For example, when I was sitting the gallery at North Bank Artists over a decade ago, I watched as my older son, then two years old, took the hand of a guest and led him to a painting. My son explained in the halting language of a toddler what he liked about the painting- he liked the bright red color. The guest smiled warmly and said he liked the color, too.
That moment of connection through art was brought about by the generosity of folks who understand the value of art. At that time, a combination of affordable rent, a generous donor, a grant from the city, and volunteer hours made North Bank possible.
Another of my favorite heart-felt moments happened a few years later at Sixth Street Gallery, which is now Gallery 360. As a member, I organized a show for local artists with disabilities. The event was sponsored by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, if I remember correctly. At the artists’ reception, several of the family members of the artists thanked the gallery for organizing the event. It meant so much to them to see their loved ones enjoy the accomplishment of having their artwork in a professional gallery.
It’s been close to thirteen years that I’ve been part of this vibrant creative community. I’ve met innumerable advocates, artists, and volunteers, and the amount of resources folks put into our local arts scene continues to astound me. What helps to make an art scene possible, though, are donors, grantors, membership fees, sales, and other sources of income that literally keep the lights on at the galleries.
Like any other scene, ours is kept vibrant by events at brick and mortar locations, which require a lot of resources to run. Though galleries provide economic stimulus for other kinds of businesses and landlords, in and of themselves, arts are not particularly profitable and require support by generous donors who understand the value of what they provide.
Donors are the quiet heroes of economic redevelopment and community building. Donors enable volunteers and staff to do their work, and for artists to show their creations. Donors helped Downtown Vancouver to re-imagine itself as a place where arts, culture, and entertainment can be enjoyed. In small ways and large, all of us who are part of the arts scene help with its funding. Large donors and grantors have the ability to swoop in and save the day or start something new. They are our angels.
Arts of Clark County’s yearly student-run project Art Car is funded by business donors. Their logos are featured on the car.