“3D Hands” student artwork created with 3D pens from Teaching Artist Eva Perez’ Introduction to Drawing class, Summer 2017
Since March, Inner-City Arts has undertaken changes to our 2020 strategy to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.
Arts organizations everywhere are being tested by enormous financial upheaval and extraordinary stress. Like our peers, we have done everything we can to continue at full speed. For Inner-City Arts, this has meant interacting with our community virtually and radically adjusting how we connect and serve the students who depend on us.
Our entire staff has gone above and beyond in this moment. While nothing can replace face-to-face programming, each team member has been part of a heroic effort to ensure that students have a creative outlet and a safety net during shelter-in-place.
We remain grateful that we have been able to continue our mission and retain our full staff thus far. However, the sobering reality of this current environment requires more drastic steps be taken to stabilize the organization so that Inner-City Arts is still around not just for the summer, but for the year to come and beyond.
Although we are working diligently to address funding shortfalls, and in spite of receiving a forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loan through the Federal CARES Act as well as COVID-response support from individuals, foundations, and corporations—a financial challenge is still anticipated. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to implement staff changes and furloughs as a necessary, responsive measure.
Beginning in June, a small segment of staff volunteered to take an unpaid leave of absence. As the effort was finalized to ensure a meaningful summer service plan, our Executive Team made the very painful decision to additionally place a larger portion of our staff on furlough this summer, beginning July 6. Lastly, after the close of summer programming, all staff will experience a one-week furlough July 20th through July 25th, with all program and administrative functions going dark. Given the health crisis that continues to unfold, we have prioritized maintaining health care coverage for eligible employees regardless of furlough status.
While we have been able to ensure the least possible impact on students and staff, we recognize the hardship that such measures create. There is no one perfect solution to such a difficult situation. We are doing everything in our power to responsibly reverse the financial impacts of this moment as quickly as possible with the least disruption for the youth and families that we serve.
Decisive actions now will safeguard our ability to serve students in the fall, based on a plan that will be developed in conversation with our partner schools and educators. Outside of our school-integrated programming (Learning & Achieving Through the Arts), we will also continue to engage our community through programs such as: The Visual, Media & Performing Arts Institutes; Work of Art; The Rosenthal Theater; and adult education. We will keep you informed of updates and ways you can support our students and staff.
Three decades of history at Inner-City Arts has taught us how to weather economic downturns and uncertainties by remaining agile and responsive. We know our mission must continue because the need endures. We need your support to make it so.
We are confident in our future because YOU continue to care about our students and this work. For that, we thank you, and we ask you to continue to advocate for arts education with us.
Should you like to take supportive action for Inner-City Arts, make a donation of any size to our Annual Fund or learn more about our donor campaign, RE-IMAGINE 2020, which replaces this year’s Summer On Seventh and Imagine Awards events. We also encourage your sharing these opportunities with those in your community who are able and inclined to help. Thank you for your care and concern for our young people, families, and staff!