There are so many things to be grateful for this year. Our doors are open, our exhibits are active, the gift market is stocked and our classes are running. We are still exercising caution one year into COVID-19. That means protocols such as masks, safe distancing, size limits and disinfecting spaces are all still in place.
When we reopened to the public in last June, we weren’t sure our classes would make it, especially the KidsArt Camps. We are glad to say, we had 170 KidsArt students over 10 weeks last summer, and 13% received scholarships from Service Club of Manatee and other groups and individuals. We took temperatures every morning, checked students in and out outside, and encouraged masks and safe distancing, as much as is possible with children. Our adult classes ran in pottery, jewelry, painting and drawing, following CDC guidelines.
This year, our KidsArt Camps will open in June and we just released our Spring Summer Catalog in online and flipbook formats. We are still being cautious.
Thanks to a grant from Manatee Community Foundation Knight Foundation COVID-19 Fund and Mmanatee CARES, we moved some of our programming online. From demos to kids projects to exhibits and opening receptions, to PSAs to promote the LiveArtfully market, exhibits and classes, and to Zoom classes in painting and watercolor.
Since 70% of our income is usually from programming (pre-COVID), we have actively pursued grants and other funding to supplement our reduced income and we are very grateful for the support we have received from our community. The Selby Foundation for helping us redo our website to make it easier to navigate and more visually pleasing. Manatee Cares for funding to purchase tabletop partitions, equipment, and for sponsoring a series of free classes to give people in the community an opportunity to de-stress, interact, learn and have fun in a safe and creative environment. They also allowed us to purchase COVID-related supplies. We thank the State for a grant to partially pay utility costs for one month. Last April, we received a Payroll Protection grant to keep staff paid while we worked through our three month closure and we recently applied again.
We thank all our sponsors who have helped us make it through: JPI Photoimaging, Selby Foundation, Bishop Foundation, Bradenton Arts & Culture, Jess Jewelers, NDC Construction, Centerstate Bank, Morgan Stanley, Blalock Walters, Manatee Memorial Hosp Foundation, SRQ Media, Herald Tribune Media Group, Manatee Community Foundation, Rotary Foundation, Service Club Of Manatee, Blick Art Materials, Loaded Barrel and Gold Coast Eagle. We encourage you to support those businesses that support the arts.
Our Arts & Healing Program, offered free to all participants, will restart soon – we are trying for April 2021. We thank The Rotary Foundation and Manatee Memorial Foundation for their support this past year.
We also thank you. You have been with us through one of our most difficult years – thanks for that.
While the COVID vaccines are helping us regain confidence in opening up our worlds, consumer confidence surveys indicate it will be closer to two years before businesses approach ‘normal’ levels of attendance. Portions of our business are still too risky to return to normal, such as events and receptions. And we will continue to limit class sizes to keep you safe. This will continue to impact our attendance numbers as well as program income. We will open us as we can
We ask for your continued support. You may donate by calling us at 941-746-2862 to use a credit card, by completing the online donation form below, mailing a check payable to ArtCenter Manatee to 209 9th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205, or just stopping by the Center.
We hope to see you soon and wish you a joyful, creative, and healthy COVID-free season.
From all of us at ArtCenter Manatee