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It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...to Support the Arts in Your Community

December 19, 2009

(The following post was written by Katrina Brown, reference librarian at the Foundation Center-Washington, D.C., and originally appeared on the Philanthropy Front and Center-Washington, D.C. blog.)

MinkStole This past weekend I went up to Baltimore to see a show at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson -- Mink Stole's Christmas: Unwrapped and Unplugged featuring Mink Stole of John Waters movie fame. Now, John Waters movies may not be considered "art" by everyone, and I went mainly because my brother was in the band providing musical accompaniment for Mink's sultry, chanteuse-y performance. But it was a fun evening all around, with a very enthusiastic audience. And I'm glad to say the show sold out!

But not every arts event is getting that kind of response these days. A new report released by the National Endowment for the Arts said that the number of American adults attending arts and cultural events has sunk to its lowest level since 1982. We posted the preliminary results of the survey on our blog back in October.

This past year has been tough for both nonprofit arts organizations and for individual artists. Donations and grants have decreased along with ticket sales. But this is a great time to do something about that! So here are some ideas on how you can help out the arts in your community while making the most of the holiday season:

  • Need a present for that person who has everything? How about a gift certificate to a performing arts center? Gifts of experiences are a great choice for someone whose house is already full of stuff, and a gift certificate lets him/her choose the show.
  • Visit local artist consortiums, studios, and shows for one-of-a-kind handmade decorations or gifts. You can be sure your sister won't be getting the same glass lollipop ring from anyone else.
  • Have holiday house guests to entertain? Take them to a museum! While there, make a donation to show your appreciation for the great exhibits -- and for getting the guests out from underfoot.
  • And don't forget to check your local newspaper to find out about other special events and shows to help you celebrate the season while supporting local performers and artists.

-- Katrina Brown

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