In this week’s Helping the Helpers, the leaders explain how you can help strengthen the Wichita Falls Arts and Culture Alliance and those they serve.
WICHITA FALLS (KFDX / KJTL) – A non-profit organization that promotes the arts through continuing education, advocacy, publicity and fundraising appeals to the community to support the arts and culture in what has turned out to be a difficult year.
The associate executive director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture said that in 2019 alone, arts and culture injected about $ 8.5 million into the local economy, but changes due to the pandemic resulted in a significant decrease in these numbers.
Ferdine LeBlanc, now WFAAC Project Manager, is an artist who has said that it is important to have this nonprofit in our community, and he reaped the benefits firsthand.
âFirst of all, it put me in touch with a lot of artists in the community that I didn’t know at the time,â said LeBlanc,
And WFAAC associate director Ann Arnold-Ogden said their main goal is to advocate and support arts and culture in Wichita Falls and surrounding communities.
Odgen said the pandemic had not distracted them from that goal, but had affected the way they served the community.
âWe really had to change the way we deliver the things we normally do online and it was a challenge, but I really feel like the arts community is united, strong and well-suited,â said Arnold. -Ogden,
However, Arnold-Ogden said that after conducting an economic impact study among nonprofit arts organizations in the region, the results were “devastating” compared to 2019.
âCity funding for arts and culture declined 42% for the region’s nonprofit arts and culture, attendance that we obviously couldn’t meet in person, which dropped by almost 70% from 2019 to 2020, charitable contributions have also fallen, individual donations have been down, âsaid Arnold-Ogden.
Arnold-Ogden and LeBlanc said it will take some time for the arts and culture community to recover, but community support and donations could help steer them up.
âA lot of the donations that people send go to give jobs to artists and I think that’s the main thing here is to provide opportunities for artists and give them jobs,â said LeBlanc.
“It does not necessarily have to be the alliance, but any artistic and cultural organization in our region, it provides what makes this city unique, it defines who we are, it tells our story, it is the bearer of culture and the guardian of history, âsaid Arnold-Ogden
While there is still a lot of uncertainty around the pandemic, Arnold-Ogden and LeBlanc said it’s more important than ever to be a champion of local artists.