WMCAT is part of the Grand Rapids Arts Working Group that started in 2019 to create one shared voice for arts organizations around West Michigan. Together, this group has released a statement regarding the challenges posed by COVID-19 on the community and the arts.
To our donors, friends, patrons and communities,
Grand Rapids Arts Working Group represents a collective of twenty Grand Rapids-based arts and culture organizations. Founded in 2019, this collaborative and community-facing working group now allows us to speak with a shared voice regarding the challenges posed by COVID-19, the role the arts can play in supporting our community, and steps we can take to ensure the continued vibrancy of arts and culture in West Michigan.
We recognize the importance of the Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order and have accordingly closed our facilities and canceled or rescheduled events. We actually took these actions in advance of the Governor’s order, as our organizations wanted to do all we could to ensure the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, artists, and patrons. We are now actively working with our staffs and boards to monitor changing recommendations and orders, plan for an uncertain future, and protect the viability of our artists and contributors.
Managing this crisis has not been easy for any of us. Our organizations’ actions so far have included closing our doors, canceling performances and events, shortening seasons, reducing salaries, laying off or furloughing staff, and suspending educational programming. These are painful decisions, especially as our sector is a major employer in the community, providing meaningful employment to artists, hospitality and facility workers, and nonprofit professionals.
Together we share immense gratitude for our donors working in partnership with our staffs and boards to address the unfolding challenges of this crisis and ensure future sustainability—thank you for making West Michigan a place where creativity and collaboration thrive. We also greatly appreciate the continued involvement of our friends and patrons throughout West Michigan. Please continue standing with us! You offer us hope for a better tomorrow.
In the coming weeks we hope you will consider making a charitable gift, donating the value of tickets purchased for canceled events back to the issuing organization, or donating the value of your membership. You can also help sustain us by purchasing tickets for a future performance or event, and making a public commitment to visit a gallery, attend a performance, sign up for a class, or volunteer for an event when present pandemic-related orders are lifted.
In the meantime, your arts and cultural community is collectively here for you. We know the power of the arts to heal, bring people together, and provide illumination of the good in times of darkness. We therefore remain committed to sharing and leveraging our creative gifts during this time—albeit in new ways—to help everyone in our community connect, reflect, be entertained, and find solace. Please follow our social media channels and visit our web sites for specially-curated content you can experience from home.
We are in this together now, and we will be there for you in the future, providing you with interesting immersions, one-of-a-kind events, the best in performing arts, places for volunteers to give of their talents, and valuable educational experiences.
During this time of unprecedented hardship, stay with us, support us, and create with us.
Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids (atgr.org)
Artists Creating Together (artistscreatingtogether.org)
Ebony Road Players (ebonyroad.org)
Festival of the Arts (festivalgr.org)
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (meijergardens.org)
Girls Choral Academy (girlschoralacademy.org)
Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (graama.org)
Grand Rapids Art Museum (artmuseumgr.org)
Grand Rapids Ballet (grballet.com)
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (grcm.org)
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (grct.org)
Grand Rapids Public Museum (grpm.org)
Grand Rapids Symphony (grsymphony.org)
Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities (gaah.org)
Opera Grand Rapids (operagr.org)
St. Cecilia Music Center (scmc-online.org)
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (uica.org)
West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (wmcat.org)