BCF Arts Challenge seeking support for Berrien County arts venues

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2021

BERRIEN COUNTY — The Berrien Community Foundation’s Arts Challenge recently launched a second act to support arts venues that have struggled throughout the pandemic.

The first BCF Arts Challenge to the community raised more $200,000 during the height of the pandemic to help these organizations survive. Now, partnering with the BCCF, a small group of donors has issued a similar challenge to help these organizations with the funding they need to re-open and continue to thrive.

The group of donors has pledged a total of $60,000 if the community matches that amount.

“We are so fortunate to live in a community that cares so deeply about the Arts,” said Sue Kellogg, of Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. “Our organizations have survived, but we have all lost a year of revenue and many have dipped into any reserves that we had. These funds will help put us in a better position for the future.”

“There was also just a loss in momentum,” said Performing Arts Workshop Director Lena Miles-LoRusso. “We are still getting back on our feet and recovering from the losses of 2020. This year has been a challenging year for rebuilding, and the arts challenge will help us push through to a full recovery.”

The funds will go to benefit nine organizations that serve communities all over Berrien County, providing experiences in various arts disciplines to all ages. From glass blowing to early childhood music, from highly attended concerts to engaging workshops and classes, from cutting edge theatre to breathtaking galleries, these organizations are the heart of cultural engagement in Berrien County, officials said.

“The partnerships formed by the first BCF Arts Challenge have remained strong,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “Our local arts organizations are working together in ways they never have. Now an amazing partnership of donors is willing to help keep these organization on solid footing.”

Every dollar contributed up to $60,000 will be matched.

Board members of these organizations are all chipping in to help reach the goal — 100 percent of the organizations’ leaders and boards members have contributed to this challenge. As a result, $32,625 of the $60,000 has already been raised. Now the organizations are asking for the rest of the community raise the remaining $27,375 by Aug. 31 and secure the full match.

“Thanks to the generous donations from so many members of the community, we made it through 2020 and are finally doing live theatre again!” said Adrienne Glisson, of Children’s Music Workshop. “The road ahead is still uncertain, and we can continue to need everyone’s support.”

Donations will benefit these organizations:

  • The Acorn
  • The Citadel Dance and Music Center
  • Children’s Music Workshop
  • The GhostLight Theatre
  • Krasl Art Center
  • Performing Arts Workshops – PAW
  • Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
  • Twin City Players
  • Water Street Glassworks

Contributors may send checks to Berrien Community Foundation at 2900 S. State St., Ste. 2E, St. Joseph, MI 49085 or donate on their website berriencommunity.org/artschallenge.