Grantees Unite to Keep the Arts Alive and Positioned to Thrive Post-Pandemic
Our Fund Foundation announced it has formed a coalition of South Florida LGBTQ cultural institutions in a cohesive effort to keep the arts top of mind in the community until they can flourish once again post-pandemic.
Among Our Fund’s arts and cultural grantees joining forces are Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, Island City Stage, Miami Gay Men’s Chorus, OUTshine Film Festival, South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, Thinking Cap Theatre and Thou Art Woman. In a unified effort, the organizations meet virtually to share resources for stabilizing and promoting South Florida’s fabulous LGBTQ arts and cultural offerings.
“Starting at a young age, I’ve had tremendous appreciation for the arts, as have many others in our community,” said David Jobin, president & CEO of Our Fund Foundation. “I firmly believe that arts and culture should be deemed ‘essential.’ That’s one of the many reasons we formed this partnership. Our combined efforts can strengthen our impact to support these struggling organizations. Now more than ever we need the arts.”
For decades, South Florida’s performing arts scene has provided first-class entertainment and a powerful sense of belonging for diverse and multicultural audiences. Whether attending a live musical event, a play, concert, film, dance revue or other type of performance, the communal element offers the LGBTQ community a place to socialize, celebrate and learn.
“Organizations such as ours play an integral role in the LGBTQ community by providing safe spaces for enjoyment, connection and reflection,” said Mark Kent, Executive Director Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida. “We are still here, albeit virtually, to serve and entertain our community and want to assure our loyal patrons that we are doing everything in our power to survive and thrive when we re-emerge.”
South Florida is attempting to secure its stature as one of the most vibrant and eclectic arts and cultural centers in the country, but the current social and financial shut-down have been devasting for these non-profit organizations. Unable to survive on proceeds from virtual performances and grants alone, without ticket sales and season sponsorships, many are struggling to find resources just to keep basic operations functioning.
“There’s nothing quite like attending a long-awaited movie premiere or an independent screening with like-minded film enthusiasts, said Victor Gimenez, Executive Director OUTShine Film Festival. “Watching a powerful scene collectively and discussing a film afterwards with fellow spectators genuinely enhances the overall experience of going to the theater. This inherently changes when watching from home alone. We can’t wait to resume our film festivals which tell so many powerful stories the LGBTQ community relates to and has come to rely on.”
“In spite of all kinds of adversity, theatre as an art form has endured for nearly 3,000 years because it nurtures our need for shared experience and feeds our love of active storytelling,“ said Nicole Stodard, Producing Artistic Director of Thinking Cap Theatre. “We need theatre now, more than ever, both in the midst and in the aftermath of the pandemic, to lift us up and unite us, and when theaters reopen, South Florida’s actors, directors, playwrights, and backstage artists will have the creative cure our community so needs.”
How to Support the Arts
Our Fund urges South Floridians to continue engaging with the arts and cultural organizations they patronized in the past and find out how to help. Although ticket sales have stopped, financial contributions of any size make a difference. Fans and patrons are urged to continue following arts groups on social media, share memories of previous engagements with friends, offer to volunteer, recruit new fans or host a virtual fundraiser. To donate or request more information, please call 954-565-1090 or visit our-fund.org/lgbtqarts to donate to Our Fund’s Arts & Culture Fund.