A Case for the Arts: Articulating the Power of Creativity in Your Nonprofit

DIY Yard sign that says "C R E A T E"

The disorienting effect of COVID-19 has illuminated the healing role the arts play in our mental and emotional lives and inspired a new awareness amongst major donors.

In a post-coronavirus milieu, arts nonprofits have an opportunity to reassert their relevance to our individual resiliency and societal cohesion.

How have you seen the healing effect of art, in your own life or in your organization? Can you articulate those feelings into a clear statement?

These questions are more important now than ever.  In this compelling article from Inside Philanthropy, Mike Scutari illustrates how arts and arts education nonprofits are increasingly able to make the case for their status as a societal necessity, and not a luxury.

In the wake of COVID-19 a number of major gift donors have dedicated themselves to bolstering the arts and cultural institutions . In New York, a range of funders including Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Ford Foundation pledged to contribute to the $75 million NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund  intended for cultural and social services.

As recently as March 20, 2020, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund joined the group as well. Tisch, a former co-chair of the Whitney Museum’s board of trustees — among other prestigious positions — has been a major donor in arts and arts education for over a decade.

Her recent move to contribute to a struggling arts sector during the international pandemic is symptomatic of a larger phenomenon — major donors are seeing the healing and stimulating value of arts and cultural institutions during times of crisis.

It’s important for art, art education, and cultural nonprofits to reflect on the ways their value is, in fact, tangible — and be able to express that in clear language to the public, the donor base, and future potential benefactors.