A Message from Allison Halstead Reid, Executive Director
Since early March, our island community, like the rest of the world, has been reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis. Like so many non-profits and arts organizations across the country, we are on a journey that is fraught with challenges, hard decisions, and uncertainty.
The arts have been greatly impacted with venues closed, gigs and exhibits canceled, and revenue support coming to an immediate halt. Artists have seen their incomes vanish overnight. Musicians and performers, who rely on large audiences and gatherings to perform, are wondering if their livelihoods will be forever changed – will large public venues even reopen before the year ends? At Vashon Center for the Arts, we are asking the same questions.
With our campus closure in March, VCA’s board of trustees approved an emergency budget based on what we knew then – we were seeing major losses in earned revenue with our programs temporarily shuttered. Without revenue we made the difficult decision to layoff half of our staff, then several weeks later we received support from the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program that allowed us to rehire our invaluable team. The SBA funds are being used under the guidelines that the loan will be forgiven. It bought us 8 weeks of staff support which carries us through June.
VCA also launched a dedicated “Resilience Fund” to invite our friends and supporters to give what they could to help offset our losses during this unprecedented crisis. It has helped tremendously as we move our focus to the development of live streaming offerings and online programming.
We do not know how long this crisis will last. We are keenly aware that this crisis requires ongoing and frequent evaluation. Until we have a clear idea of when VCA may fully re-open, we must do what we can to protect the financial health of our organization. The dollars raised through the Resilience Fund will be used to help us retain core staff and support basic operation to keep VCA going through this crisis.
I want to give a giant thanks to the phenomenal members of our staff. If the arts are the heart of what we do, then surely our staff is the lifeblood that keeps VCA’s heart beating.
These are extremely challenging times, and still, I am honored to serve our community. I treasure the artists who live amongst us and enrich our lives every day. I marvel at the exceptional arts education programs that emerging artists and island children have access to. I cannot wait to welcome you back so we might gather in celebration of the arts once again!
Stay well and be safe,
Allison Halstead Reid
Executive Director, Vashon Center for the Arts
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