LUMBERYARD: We built more than a building.
The Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts in Catskill, New York, needs $1 million before 2019 ends. Otherwise, its pre-premiere technical rehearsal program might be shut down. Lumberyard executive and artistic director Adrienne Willis attributes this budget deficit to three factors. First, the costs of keeping the center operational have been larger than expected. Second, Lumberyard is not getting enough financial support. Third, the creation process has changed, but the funding models have not.
“Artists used to come to us a week before they premiered a work at Brooklyn Academy of Music,” explains Willis. “Now they come at the early stages of their work. We’re at a critical point where we don’t have the support structures…”
This third problem is exacerbating the second problem. Willis points out that philanthropists neither view this altered creation process as an urgent concern nor see it as something worth funding. “It’s been very difficult for us to raise awareness of this issue,” rues Willis.
Maya Beiser / Wendy Whelan / Lucinda Childs – LUMBERYARD Residency
Funding is getting harder
Lumberyard’s fate is indicative of a nationwide trend of art centers struggling with funds. Most art centers in the U.S. rely on government funding, as well as donations from private companies and individuals. A few, like the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2012 and the City of Simpsonville Art Center this year, have been fortunate enough to receive financial lifelines.
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center reaped the financial benefits of being a creative partner of America’s Got Talent, while the City of Simpsonville Art Center received a sizable donation from the winner of the record-breaking MegaMillions jackpot early this year. From that record jackpot, which Lottoland reports stands at around $1.6 billion, the winner received $877,784,124, as she chose the one-time lump sum option. The good news for charities and art centers is that the winner has been very generous with her windfall.
Pix 11 details how the South Carolinian has donated to various charities, including the One SC Fund for hurricane relief and, yes, the City of Simpsonville Art Center. Based on records obtained by The Greenville News the anonymous MegaMillions winner donated $75,0000 to the City of Simpsonville Art Center. That donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, is currently being used to renovate the center’s auditorium.
Lumberyard’s future looks murky
That’s the type of help the Lumberyard badly needs, and unfortunately, it is not getting it. The center’s fund-raising has so far raised only $200,000. And at the moment the million-dollar target looks like a pipe dream. Then again, New York is the creative capital of the world. Its creative sector spurs some $110 billion in in-state economic activity and employs close to 30,000. That means some art-loving New Yorker might still save the day for Lumberyard. The center desperately needs someone to do so. Otherwise it will have to say goodbye to its prestigious pre-premiere technical rehearsal program.
You Can Help: Lumberyard’s Sprint to a Million
Guest post by Adam Whitehead