Allied Arts Council executive director Teresa Fankhauser is used to seeing the organization’s Arts Fund fall a little behind, especially with the end date being a month away.
What she’s not used to is a pandemic causing people and companies being slower to open their wallets to help the group achieve its goal of $235,000.
“It’s been more challenging because people have been laid off and at every level, at every job, everybody’s been touched by this,” she said.
Falling short of its goal by about $40,000, the Allied Arts Council is hoping people can step up with donations to help benefit seven local arts groups, including the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association, Robidoux Resident Theatre, St. Joseph Community Chorus and the Saint Joseph Symphony.
While the organizations make money off of ticket prices for the events, it’s usually not enough to pay all of the operating costs, which is where the Arts Fund comes in.
“The ticket prices alone do not cover the expense of any of those (organization’s) events,” Fankhauser said.
With most arts organizations having to postpone or cancel past and future events, the need for money to stay open is paramount. When talking about the organizations the Arts Fund helps, Fankhauser cited the St. Joseph Performing Arts Association, which brings national touring acts to venues like the Missouri Theater, had to push back most of its performances to 2021.
“I do worry about our the ability of our agencies to hold on, because I think a lot of them ... They’re not going to be producing in the fall,” Fankhauser said.
On its own, the Allied Arts Council has taken its blows, as the Beer Walk for the Arts, one of its big annual fundraisers, was forced to be cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns.
“We tried to move forward, (but) it was becoming very difficult to get homes to say, ‘Yes, I will welcome strangers into my home during this time,’” Fankhauser said.
The need for the Arts Fund is more important than ever, Fankhauser said. Its previous 2019 campaign, which raised more than $230,000, used the remaining allocated money this year to pay all of its organizations to keep the lights on during the shutdown.
“We did that because we knew they were no longer earning income. With canceling shows, there was there was no money to be had. So, we .... voted to go ahead and just allocate the remainder to each agency so that they could use that money to pay bills,” Fankhauser said.
In the coming year, the Allied Arts Council likely will face another situation like that. But first, it will have to have the money needed to make that call.
“Whatever that new normal is going to look like, that’s our role in the bigger picture of things,” she said.
While the Arts Fund is behind its goal, Fankhauser said she believes people in the area will come through and help support art during this tough time. The deadline to reach the goal is June 30.
“If you’d asked me a month ago if I thought we had a chance to make goal, I would have said ‘I don’t know that we will.’ And now, I think we can,” she said.