Why be a member at Wilkes Art Gallery?
By now, you are probably familiar with the myriad of ways we have worked to make the gallery safe for our visitors and patrons. Between reduced hours, free PPE for guests without, and enhanced cleaning and protection measures we have been fortunate to keep our community safe. We are looking forward to a time after COVID, but in the meantime will continue doing what is required to keep our community safe and into the future.
Bringing art experiences safely to our community is an ongoing discussion and question since we wrote our last membership letter. Here are a few of the ways we have met the community’s need for arts access: take-home art kits, online exhibits, access to free online resources, and grant-making for other community arts organizations. We’ve introduced easy ways for art lovers to enjoy the gallery from home with digital gallery walkthroughs. Our current exhibits can be viewed on our website and are updated after each exhibit is hung. In the coming year we will host the Youth Art Month Window Art Walk, offer outdoor socially distanced summer camps, and resume our WAG Community Camp.
It is no secret that the arts are typically underfunded at the federal and state level, but COVID brought a drastic change. Wilkes Art Gallery received unprecedented funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and state CARES funds. We have received reimbursement for 100% of our operational expenses between July and December of 2020. The Payroll Protection Program allowed us to retain all four staff members and the second wave of PPP funding will assist us in 2021.
This funding commitment from our legislators in Raleigh and on Capitol Hill means that 100% of the monies donated by you, our patrons, will go to community arts initiatives. The dollars you generously give purchase the paint a young child will use to create her first masterpiece, the clay a middle schooler will use to hone his sculpture skills, and the yarn a high schooler will use to weave her first set of placemats. As arts organizations are being forced to shut their doors, the Wilkes Art Gallery is poised to welcome everyone in Wilkes County to enjoy the many benefits provided by the arts. Please join us again in 2021 in supporting the arts in our community. You make this possible and we are grateful for your continued support.