While a growing number of arts organizations are on the brink of collapse due to the pandemic, the value of art is becoming more apparent than ever before, providing essential relief, engagement, and a method of communication for people across the world.
The Texas Cultural Trust, a statewide non-profit, is the leading voice for art and culture in Texas, offering support and promoting awareness about the important impact the arts have on Texas’s economy, culture, and health and well-being.
This work has never been more critical than it is now. The creative sector was the first to close at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will be one of the last to re-open. However, during this time, we have seen artists engage the public through online dance, art, and music lessons, concerts, readings and every creative engagement you can think of. These types of virtual activities are helping to keep our mental health in check. During social distancing and isolation, art can respond by providing comfort, interaction and a way to express feelings.
Since 2005, Texas Women for the Arts (TWA), a membership program of the Texas Cultural Trust, has helped to “awaken and nurture the artist in every Texas child.” Texas Women for the Arts has provided more than $2.9 million in grants to support arts education programs, ensuring that all Texas children have access to art and cultural experiences regardless of their socioeconomic background, geography or race. These funds have been used to provide dance lessons for children in low-income communities, keeping kids engaged in the summer through virtual art challenges, providing instruments and lessons for children in foster care, using arts education as therapy for children overcoming health issues, art family days, and readers’ theater, among many other opportunities.
This year, despite the cancellation of recruitment events and TWA’s annual meeting, Texas Women for the Arts funded $369,542 in grants making it possible for arts organizations to sustain their programs and operations in the face of numerous challenges and provide children with vital arts engagement during quarantine provisions. Over the years, TWA has granted more than $160,000 to more than 20 different art programs in San Antonio. Only current Texas Women for the Arts members may nominate an organization to be considered to receive a grant.
Similar to Maya Angelou’s mission in life, TWA members are passionate philanthropists with compassion and style! In addition to making an impact on the lives of children, members value their friendships with other members, enjoy gathering for TWA’s annual meeting, which visits a different Texas city every year, and have the opportunity to experience exclusive and uniquely curated art and culture travel twice a year to destinations across the country, Mexico and Canada. A trip to enjoy the vibrant art scene of New York City scheduled for the spring of 2020 was canceled due to COVID-19, but there is the hope of rescheduling in 2021. The Texas Cultural Trust is creatively working on virtually engaging membership during this pandemic.
On average, TWA boasts 250 members from across the state. The membership year is September 1 through August 31; though you may join anytime. There are two levels of membership, both of which are fully tax-deductible. If you are interested in supporting the arts in Texas and want to join this group of influential women, visit txculturaltrust.org/twa for more information. The arts will be essential to the healing, recovery, and rebuilding of our communities from the spread of COVID-19. Join us in our work!