The pandemic ravaged many, many things, and our local arts organizations are among those that have suffered greatly. Without the ability to perform, have exhibitions or host events, many groups saw their revenues fall, had to lay off critical staff, lost volunteers, decimated their marketing and promotional budgets and wondered when and if they would come out on the other side.
Those of us at Encore, which has been known for its arts and culture coverage in greater Kalamazoo since it began publishing in 1972, knew that emerging from the pandemic was going to be a long, hard process for our arts community. We wanted to help. But, like the arts organizations, Encore was adversely affected by the pandemic too. With less advertising support, we had less space to provide important arts content.
We were thrilled when the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo agreed to partner with us on a project called the “Arts Coverage Initiative” to help revive local arts. The initiative will provide a dedicated Arts section in our print and digital publications that informs our readers about arts events and organizations in our community at a time when these organizations cannot afford to do so on their own. We were exceedingly fortunate that the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation saw the need for what our partnership proposed and has provided grant funding to help defray the costs.
In this issue, we are excited to have a “soft” unveiling of the initial phase of the Arts Coverage Initiative. Click here to go directly to the online version of our new monthly Arts section, which features previews of upcoming performances, exhibitions, events and other arts-related content. We call it a soft unveiling because we expect that as more arts groups and artists emerge from their pandemic hiatuses, our arts coverage will evolve and grow. The Arts section you see in this issue is laying the foundation for our more ambitious goal of not only providing better arts coverage in our print and digital publications, including profiles and features on artists, but offering timely reviews of performances and arts events on our website in the near future.
The pandemic has taught us many things, but the most important is that we will all come out of it better by working together. We are very grateful to both the Arts Council and the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation for putting their energies behind this effort and for their support of Encore. We encourage other organizations and local businesses that love the arts to join them in supporting this effort in Encore. We also encourage our readers to provide feedback on this new coverage by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.