For today’s Q&A with a local organization navigating this time of COVID-19, we hear from Barbara Linarducci, CEO and vice chair of Silvermine Arts Center.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: We’ve heard from many nonprofit organizations that one major impact of COVID-19 virus has been the forced cancellation of big fundraisers. What has this experience been like for Silvermine Arts Center?
Barbara Linarducci: Like any arts organization, we depend on the annual benefit to help cover general operating expenses. Postponing this major fundraiser has had a significant impact on our finances. [On the experience:] We’ve had to rethink how everything works. We’re trying to keep our constituents engaged and involved in our organization.
SAC launched many online opportunities for patrons and students in the face of health-related restrictions. What sort of demand are you seeing for them?
Silvermine reopened in June for in-person adult classes and Summer Art Studios for children and teens. Classes continue through August on the Silvermine campus. Online classes are also available. People have been very happy to be back in the Silvermine Arts Center setting. With our staggered class times, reduced class size, and required masking, students and visitors are feeling safe and able to participate again. For both the adult classes and summer art studio camps, enrollment has been strong given our reduced capacity. And in many instances we are full. The galleries have also been busy with their pre-registered spots for people coming to see the Summer Salon Guild Exhibition. The Silvermine Galleries are open by appointment only. Visitors must register in advance by calling 203-966-9700 x3. Groups can consist of up to 5 people in the same party. These new procedures have been implemented to keep everyone safely social-distanced.
How will this whole experience of COVID-19 change SAC long-term, if at all?
We will continue to offer a hybrid of both in-person and online classes and workshops. In the past, art exhibitions did not appear on the website for visitors to experience virtually. From now on, exhibitions will be installed in the galleries and will also be shown virtually on the Silvermine website.
Tell us about the Living Art Awards Benefit planned for October.
Our Living Art Awards honor individuals in the Silvermine community and in the community at large. It is our annual fundraising event, a time when the Silvermine community comes together to support our organization. For now, the event is still on the calendar for October and may be postponed. We are watching the COVID-19 situation carefully.
What is your message to the community?
We hope that everyone is safe, healthy and looking forward to experiencing the arts. Now is a time when art and creativity are more important than ever. We know that classes aren’t going to be “normal” but what won’t change is Silvermine’s commitment to providing quality arts education for students of all ages and skill levels. We know that Silvermine is the best place for you to unplug, explore art and be creative.