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Randy Eaddy: Contributing to The Arts Council maximizes impact

From: Winston-Salem Journal

By Randy Eaddy Guest columnist Aug 16, 2019

Supporters of arts and culture, like most of us these days, want the most bang for their buck.

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County is in the last weeks of its 2019 Community Fund for the Arts campaign, which ends on Sept. 30. Many prospective donors ask a version of this good question: “I support the arts, but why should I contribute to The Arts Council, rather than giving directly to a specific arts organization?”

There are several good reasons, which culminate in this: By giving to the Arts Council, you maximize the impact of your contribution to benefit the arts and culture as vibrant, impactful and catalytic forces for our entire community.

Direct contributions to a favorite organization are very important, and we urge you to make them. But you shouldn’t stop there. Every supporter of arts and culture should want their beneficial impacts to “touch every corner” of our community.

The poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is ... a part of the main.” Donne’s 17th century words are apt today in many contexts, including when deciding how best to support the vibrancy and impact of arts and culture in our community.

Arts and culture are bedrocks of our community’s success and appeal. They are at the center of the revitalization of downtown Winston-Salem and the emergence of our broader community as the “City of Arts and Innovation” and as a great place to live, work and learn.

The beneficial impacts of arts and culture include all of the following and more:

They entertain, educate and inspire us; they are essential food for the spirit and soul.

They teach our children essential skills that will promote their future creativity and innovation.

They provide jobs and attract visitors who spend at local businesses and generate tax revenue. (The most recent economic study showed that our arts industry generated $14.8 million of state and local tax revenue and had a total economic impact of $156.8 million.)

Arts and culture events provide enriching and enlightening experiences that help to build bridges and bonds among diverse peoples in our community, which strengthens the community itself.

No single arts organization — or handful of them — is responsible for those beneficial impacts, and no such organization alone can sustain and extend those impacts into the future. An impactful arts and culture community requires a broad and diverse spectrum of high quality, thriving arts organizations and artists.

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