GREENSBORO — ArtsGreensboro has launched its 2020 campaign to raise $1 million to help support the city’s arts scene.
That’s more money than the annual ArtsFund campaign has collected in each of the last two fiscal years.
But already, it has raised 27% — that’s nearly $273,000 — toward that $1 million goal, ArtsGreensboro board member Nancy Radtke announced to applause at Tuesday’s launch reception.
The ArtsFund represents Guilford County’s largest comprehensive annual fundraising effort to support arts organizations, initiatives and infrastructure.
It supports ArtsGreensboro’s grant programs for nonprofit organizations, projects, artists and teachers, and its efforts to market and promote the arts and culture community.
The annual ArtsFund campaign will run through June 30.
“We provide a base level of support for organizations that allows them to be inventive and innovative in serving their community,” Laura Way, who became ArtsGreensboro president and chief executive officer in April, told supporters gathered in a Dance Project studio at the Greensboro Cultural Center.
This year’s campaign theme is “Art Does a Public Good.”
“We can enhance our community with arts and cultural experiences that offer enjoyment, promote inclusion and inspire creativity,” Way said. “We can only accomplish this by engaging the entire community in supporting experiences that benefit people while sustaining and strengthening a healthy arts and culture ecosystem.”
A high-profile couple will lead the effort: Former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her husband, Chip, an attorney, will serve as honorary co-chairs.
More than two years ago, Kay Hagan contracted a brain inflammation from a tick-borne illness. She sat in a wheelchair nearby, as Chip Hagan addressed the crowd about their love and support for the arts.
Chip Hagan’s interest stems from music. Kay Hagan majored in ballet in college. They met in law school at Wake Forest University.
They became involved in Greensboro Ballet and other organizations that the ArtsFund helps to support.
“We felt like we had an opportunity to really celebrate this plethora of wonderful things that provide us with artistic inspiration here in Greensboro,” Chip Hagan said.
The launch celebration demonstrated some of those arts. Triad Ukulele and dancers from Dance Project performed. Artist Raman Bhardwaj painted.
The 23 organizations who receive part of their funding through 2018 mission and project support grants generate an annual $41.7 million in economic impact, Way said.
“We need to demonstrate that creative individuals drive economic impact and that our city is more vibrant and colorful because of that,” she said.
The last annual campaign raised $880,000 in the fiscal year ending June 30, topping its $850,000 goal.
It fared better than the 2017-18 fiscal year campaign, which raised $860,000, falling short of its $1 million goal by $140,000.
This year, Chip Hagan said, “We look forward to a very successful ArtsFund campaign.”