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The arts community is paying it forward

in Uncategorized 2 min read


Today I want to talk about kindness, compassion and the strong bonds within our arts community.

It is easy, in times like these, to give in to fear. But what I have seen this past week is incredible generosity, empathy and truly the best about what makes us human.

Tom Katzenmeyer, president & CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council

Tom Katzenmeyer, president & CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council

The other day the Columbus Dispatch ran a story about three musicians—Amber Knicole, Will Strickler and Max Marsillo—who did a parking lot concert for seniors who are quarantined. Seeing smiling residents on their balconies enjoying a free concert was the lift I needed after another hard day of dire news.

Andy Shaw, an artist who recently received an emergency relief grant to help him pay rent and buy food, quickly turned around and looked for a way to pay it forward. He started a live porch concert series “COVAID-LIVE” to raise money for our COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Artists fund.

At a time when their brick and mortar business is shuttered and they are working to find creative virtual ways to connect with art patrons, Brandt-Roberts Galleries has generously offered to commit a portion of sales to the Emergency Relief for Artists.

And Gretchen Burns of GB Photography launched a front porch portrait project, taking photographs of of people on their front porches to both encourage donations to the Arts Council’s fund and provide an uplifting memory during a very challenging time.

It never fails to amaze me to see people who are already taking a huge hit financially doing so much to help others in need.

We’ve received nearly $85,000 from individuals across all sectors of the community. Those that still have expendable income are taking what they might have spent on a night out or tickets to a show, and donating to our relief fund. Once we hit $125,000 we can take the application ‘off pause’ and reopen it to provide support for more of the amazing artists doing great things to lift our spirits. Writing personal notes to all of these kind people, taking that moment to reflect my gratitude, has been therapeutic for me. It gives me hope.

What I am seeing is the core strength of our arts community—from art makers to art lovers—and it tells me that we can weather this storm because we face adversity with kindness, compassion and resilience. #ohioartsstrong

— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.