Metropolitan Arts Council of Greenville establishes Covid-19 arts relief fund

In conjunction with the Graham Foundation and the Canal Charitable Foundation, the Metropolitan Arts Council of Greenville is distributing $275,500 to 28 local arts organizations.  “All of us at MAC are very pleased to be in a position to raise and provide this level of funding for these organizations that are such important assets to Greenville,” said Alan Ethridge, MAC executive director.

The fund was started with a $102,000 withdrawal from the MAC Endowment for the Arts which was established in 2009 for the organization’s grants program.  “This is the first time we have withdrawn any funds from the endowment, but it was very important to do so given the projected losses of so many arts organizations,” said MAC board chairman Michael Cooper of TD Bank. “Once we realized the severity of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MAC board and staff went immediately to work to begin a relief fund.”

“The Graham Foundation and the Canal Charitable Foundation contributed to the fund very generously,” Ethridge continued.  “Greenville is so fortunate to have such philanthropic partners who realize the importance of the arts in the vitality of our amazing city.  Throughout their histories, both entities have ensured that the arts have had a very visible presence in the community by providing very substantial funding to cultural initiatives.  It is a privilege to be working with both of them during these challenging times.”

Kerry Murphy, Artisphere executive director, commented, “Arts organizations have had to cancel/postpone performances, events, exhibits and fundraisers. That loss of income can be devastating. These relief funds will have a tremendous impact on our cultural community.”

Holly Caprell, Greenville County Youth Orchestra executive director said, “I am so thankful for MAC’s dedication to helping small organizations like ours.  Looking ahead to our next season, there are so many unknowns.  This grant will help us bridge funding gaps and give us the freedom to plan projects that will encourage our students to grow musically.”

Ethridge also said that additional relief funding may be necessary as we are not yet familiar with the distancing norms for the latter part of the year and 2021.  “MAC will certainly assess the future needs of our organizational constituents and perhaps be able to provide additional relief funding.  I certainly want to thank the MAC Board of Directors and staff, the Executive Committee and the Endowment Committee for making sure the fund came to fruition.”

The 28 arts organizations receiving funding are Artisphere, Carolina Dance Collaborative, Carolina Music Museum, Centre Stage, Chicora Voices, Emrys, Foothills Philharmonic, GLOW Lyric Theatre, Greenville Center for Creative Arts, Greenville Chautauqua Society, Greenville Chorale, Greenville Concert Band, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, Greenville Jazz Collective, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Theatre, Greer Cultural Arts Council, International Ballet, Makers Collective (Indie Craft Parade), Mauldin Cultural Center, Peace Center, SC Bach, South Carolina Children’s Theatre, Vaughn Newman Dance, The Warehouse Theatre, Wits End Poetry and Younts Center for Performing Arts.