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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Art Talk – Stepping up for the arts


In December, Arts DuPage, a DuPage Foundation initiative, secured $300,000 in funding through DuPage County’s Federal Corona Virus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funds and used it to aid challenged arts organizations in the region. This last-minute emergency support would come as an unexpected gift to the recipients and would help keep local theaters and museums as well as visual and performing arts groups viable until in-person activities could once again revive the area’s now-shuttered arts businesses.

Facing a deadline of only three weeks, Arts DuPage and DuPage Foundation moved at warp speed to collect grant applications, review submissions, and deploy grant checks before year’s end, as required by the federal government. Out of 36 eligible arts organizations, 24 were selected to receive a windfall that will help them navigate any adversities that lie ahead.

Seven of these grantees are based in Naperville, something that should not come as a surprise. The City has long been recognized as an arts-conscious community and is home to several cultural offerings including Naper Settlement, Wentz Concert Hall, and Century Walk’s growing collection of public art installations.

Appreciative grant recipients have confirmed that their organizations are now positioned to bring joy and economic activity to the region and play a key role in the rebuilding of our community. Upon receiving the COVID Relief funding, Naperville Art League Board President Sally Sharp stated, “We are now able to keep our doors open and continue to serve the art community that we love. This grant literally ‘saved’ us and we appreciate it more than words can express.”

Dave Mueller from the Naperville Men’s Glee Club said, “Our Board is VERY grateful to have received this grant. It has a huge impact on a small organization such as ours as we try to keep our staff on board during this extended pandemic. We’ve pinched about every penny we can so we can avoid impacting our staff.”

BrightSide Theatre’s Executive Director Julie Kornak stressed that “it is so important to understand that most arts organizations were the first to stop operations and will be the last to safely return to what we do best: bring people together to experience theatre.” She continued, “The arts are a very important part of everyone’s lives, from those who create it to those who gather to experience it. As a recipient of this grant funding, BrightSide Theatre will be able to better prepare for its return to producing quality programming.”

About Arts DuPage

Arts DuPage supports, promotes and advocates for the arts in DuPage County. An initiative of DuPage Foundation, Arts DuPage stimulates engagement and investment in the County’s vast cultural landscape through artsdupage.org, its comprehensive website for all things art.

About DuPage Foundation

DuPage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) community foundation, is the philanthropic leader in DuPage County, Illinois. DuPage Foundation manages more than $105 million in assets and has awarded more than $55 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond since its founding in 1986. Individuals and organizations seeking to provide impactful support in DuPage County to address critical issues can create powerful, customizable gift solutions and partnerships through DuPage Foundation. More at dupagefoundation.org. Doing a world of good in our own backyard.™

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Debbie Venezia
Debbie Veneziahttp://www.artsdupage.org
Debbie Venezia is the Director of Arts DuPage, a DuPage Foundation initiative. Contact her at debbie@dupagefoundation.org or visit www.artsdupage.org.