Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Opening Doors for the Arts


Welcome to Giving Tuesday. You will see many, many worthy requests for your funds today.

Mine is a reminder of a younger member of our Columbia/HoCo community: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. The folks at the Inner Arbor Trust are charged with developing the Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods into a destination arts and culture park. Integral to that mission is that programming  will be affordable, accessible, and inclusive for all. Donations to the the Trust support them in fulfilling their mission to provide an arts park for all and to continue to provide high-quality free and affordable programming for the entire community.

As the pandemic stretches on it becomes even more crucial to consider how to make the arts accessible to all in Columbia/Howard County. So often the arts are the playground of the well-to-do. The more that *money* is the key that unlocks arts experiences, the more that audiences will be white and affluent. The longer vulnerable populations are impacted by the financial hardships of COVID-19, the farther they slip from connecting with transformational arts experiences which can not only feed the spirit but open new doors for living.

“Arts for all” is a very different goal than “we welcome those with the ability to pay.”  Can we persist in looking at local arts and culture funding in a way that speaks only to one audience?

I support the Park because they are living the mission of Columbia by who they aim to reach. 

Some exciting updates: I recently attended a Zoom presentation by IAT President and CEO Nina Basu reporting on the Trust’s work revisiting and transforming the original design plan for the park. I especially enjoyed how the Trust is working with community stakeholders to evaluate progress made and to elicit feedback on the best ways to move forward. The partnerships that the IAT has been forming over time are providing a substantial and reliable foundation for the success of the park. I can’t wait for you to see some of the ideas that are on the drawing board.

Lastly, an invitation for you from the IAT and the DCACC:

We want to invite you to work with us as together we plan for 2021 events in Downtown Columbia.  We have some potential ideas of how performances can go forward, but we know that you bring the vision and creativity to these spaces, and we want to hear your ideas and brainstorm together.  

We would like to invite you to a Zoom meeting on December 3rd at 3 p.m. to begin this discussion.  Please invite anyone you like - we would love to have anyone who wants to attend.

Interested? Reach out to brett@innerarbortrust.org for the Zoom link.

My friend and Chrysalis volunteer extraordinaire Graham Cruickshank has started a Facebook Giving Tuesday fundraiser for the park. I hope you can chip in a little today - - even ten dollars is a vote for a park for all in the heart of our community.

Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods Giving Tuesday

"We created ways for people to care more deeply about one another, to stimulate, encourage, release creativity, minimize intolerance and bigotry." - - James Rouse

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