Nancy Fox's CNY Arts Center ‘Connections’: Staying in the battle!

Logan Cleverly shares his painting made during a previous summer Arty Camp. Logan has been Arty Camp participant for at least five years. The ninth annual Arty Camp is tentatively scheduled to return in early August at CNY Arts Center in downtown Fulton.

My backyard jungle got tamed last week! Yay! A very generous sweep of the undergrowth, trees trimmed and pruned, even the flowerbed crawled out from under the weeds. I can feel the yard breathe a sigh of relief.

There are good guys all around us — good people making a real difference in the lives of others, one small selfless act at a time.

We hear stories about such wonderful things even more through this time of crisis and isolation.

It’s all the more amazing when you are the recipient of that wonderful gesture of kindness. Yes, I am so grateful for help with my backyard jungle! (Thank you Bill Grace, our vice president!)

Just like it’s amazing when people open their wallets and help the Arts Center with a donation, without prompting because they just want to help, like Joyce Cook, Nancy Close, Nellie Eggleton, Dave and Marie Mankiewicz, and Amanda Close just this past month!

It’s really extra special when someone chooses to share their generosity and support our mission. Thank you!

We are also grateful for the efforts of those directly fighting the pandemic war on all fronts and we fully support funds and resources being funneled to relief where it matters most.

We have not qualified for any disaster relief funds but that’s OK because the Arts Center is not directly fighting like so many others are. We’re blessed to only have the overhead to worry about for now and because we have no employees we are grateful no one has lost a full-time job through the closure of the Arts Center.

We’re first to realize we’re not soldiers on the front lines but we are part of the relief effort for sagging spirits. And someday soon we’ll be the gathering place again for building happy memories and restoring relationships.  

But while we figure out how to maintain social distancing in our small center, we must be ready to open the doors when we’re allowed to. That means we need to plan now for re-opening activities and expenses.

We’re hoping to save a little bit of summer with our ninth annual Arty Camp, in August hopefully.

Talk to anyone who knows firsthand how much kids love Arty Camp and you will understand why scholarships are so important. With one in four children living under the poverty line in Oswego County, and maybe more now, attending camp will be even more of a challenge. You can see why the scholarship program is critical to meet the need for kids to have meaningful art camp experiences.

We’re really anxious about the next junior production, “Frozen Jr.” Have you seen how excited the kids are every year to get onstage with their peers, play all the characters, dress up in costume and sing their favorite songs? Friendships are formed and wonderful life-skills are learned through creative problem solving and team building.  

With more than 30 kids already cast for “Frozen,” we’re holding our breath for an August performance.

Presenting these large scale musicals is expensive but they usually pay for themselves and the rewards are truly priceless! It’s worth every penny of the royalties.

Our mission is to build a better future through the arts and especially in times like these this is how we lift sagging spirits and bring a little joy for the price of a theater ticket.

And speaking of those tickets, we are proud of our Pay-What-You-Can option for our final dress rehearsal the night before each grand opening of a show. We don’t want anyone left out and we love a practice audience.

Everyone should have access to theater no matter the cost. With our Pay-What-You-Can Dress Rehearsal, anyone can see live theater at whatever you want to pay.

So the Arts Center is fighting to stay in the battle — get back to work and firing on all cylinders just like so many other small nonprofits. We’re still hoping for a block party this summer, too. It will be so good to see all of you again. Soon!

Check out our new promotion on Facebook called Monologue May-nia! See what fun Adam Schmidtmann is kicking up all month long and stay connected.

Stay well and thank you!

Nancy Fox is the executive director of the CNY Arts Center, located 121 Cayuga St. in the heart of downtown Fulton. Her column “Connections” appears regularly in The Palladium-Times.  Visit CNYArtsCenter.com for more information.

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