Arts Community to Light the Town Red
Arts Community to Light the Town Red in Support
of Live Entertainment and Event Industry
9:00 p.m. until midnight, Tuesday, September 1
Winston-Salem, N.C. (August 28, 2020) – The devastating economic effect of COVID-19 runs wide and deep in the arts world, and the Winston-Salem arts community is rallying support for federal relief legislation. The Arts Council; Special Events Services, a local company; and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 635 are asking Winston-Salem arts organizations and others to light their buildings RED the night of Tuesday, September 1 (9:00 p.m. to midnight) as part of a nationwide “Red Alert” to help raise awareness about the plight of the event and live entertainment industry.
Randy Eaddy, President and CEO of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, said, “Red Alert focuses attention on the legion of indispensable industry professionals who work behind the scenes for the productions we see and enjoy on the stage, on the screen, and in a wide range of public and private entertainment venues. They are the light and sound technicians, the stagehands, set and costume designers, and myriad others who are members of our community and have seen their livelihoods disappear with the onset of the COVID-19. Their plight has been largely overlooked, and we are trying to help correct that and get help for them during this horrific time.”
An impressive list of Winston-Salem arts organizations and venues already have signed on, including the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, Special Events Services, Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, SECCA, North Carolina Black Repertory Company, Winston-Salem Fair Grounds, The Ramkat, Bookmarks, The Millennium Center, Monstercade, Winston-Salem Symphony, The Kimpton Cardinal (historic RJR Building), a/perture and Delta Arts Center.
Members of IATSE Local 635 and Special Events Services are volunteering their services and equipment to assist organizations that need help with “Red Alert” lighting. Residents of Winston-Salem who value live performances and appreciate the industry professionals who make them possible can show their support by displaying red lights of their choosing, which can be as simple as a single red porch light. Anyone seeking additional information may contact John Horsman at The Arts Council, JHorsman@intothearts.org.
Jeff Cranfill, Vice President, Special Events Services, said, “When you go to a concert, theatrical performances or other special events, you don’t spend much time – if any – thinking about the ‘invisible people’ who are working behind the scenes to make it happen. But we are there, using our talents to support the performing artists and guarantee memorable audience experiences. Regretfully, we have been overlooked in relief legislation. With ‘Red Alert’ the night of September 1, we want to get the attention of lawmakers and relief for these folks who are hurting desperately.”
The Arts & Culture sector employs 5.1 million people and provides $877 billion value added to the U.S. economy. It is a cornerstone of the larger U.S. economy, making up 4.5% of GDP. “Unfortunately, we in the live entertainment industry will be among the last to go back to the work because of COVID-19 protocols,” said Jessica Holcombe, Vice President, IATSE Local 635. “Red Alert will remind Winston-Salem residents how severely we are being impacted and ask for continuing support and federal relief legislation for people and organizations that are unable now to earn a livelihood from live events.”
“Red Alert” Winston-Salem is part of a national event that will include lighting as many buildings in red as possible and posting pictures and videos to social media and news outlets. #WeMakeEvents has partnered with ExtendPUA.org in requesting a continuation and expansion of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, both of which are supported by Arts North Carolina.