By Kathy Chouteau
The Richmond Art Center (RAC) is appealing for community donations following a 23 percent drop in income stemming from the loss of two of its major funders.
Michael Dear, who serves as the RAC’s board president, said in a community email that the center was victorious in surviving the pandemic, but that the RAC’s “spirits were darkened” upon the July revelation that it would lose the two significant contributors to its annual budget.
The board president said that surviving the pandemic came at a “steep price” for the RAC, including closing its galleries for two years, canceling in-person classes and laying off staff. However, the RAC remained optimistic due to the fundraising prowess of its new executive director, José R. Rivera, significant donors supporting renovations to the galleries/classrooms and the addition of new staff and program offerings “as budgets permitted.”
He added that, “with this devastating news” of losing the major funders, the Board of Directors estimates that “it will take a further eighteen months to complete the full recovery of RAC operations, staffing and programming.”
That’s where the local community comes in. Dear and his colleagues are requesting crucial assistance via donations to the RAC’s end-of-year appeal, with the overriding goal of returning the RAC to “full operational capacity by the end of 2023” with a focus on some central initiatives.
These initiatives include, under education, once again delivering a full lineup of classes at the center and via community outreach; under infrastructure, continuing to do the needed center upgrades both in its “physical plant and utilities,” to include restoring Andrée Singer Thompson’s Guillermo the Golden Trout sculpture upon the piece’s 25th anniversary next May; and, under programming, continuing to add diversity and bilingualism to the RAC’s outreach/programming and reinstituting longer-range planning in pursuit of its mission.
“Please help us complete the renaissance at [the] Richmond Art Center. Your donation will help to restore RAC as a jewel in the heart of the City of Richmond’s Civic Center,” said Dear in his letter.