Give Change by December 31 to Make Change in 2017
Earlier this month we sent a letter out to our friends across Napa County, sharing the heartwarming and inspiring story of Phil Lofaro, a volunteer at Napa Court and Community Schools. Phil came to us as one of more than a hundred community members who come to us with an idea for how the arts can change our community. It our favorite part of the job to get to help people like Phil realize goals and feed their passion.
Phil is a retiree of the film industry who believes strongly in the arts as a tool for personal growth and occupational development. At the Court & Community Schools students often face greater life challenges, including abuse, neglect and addiction - without the emotional tools to help them make healthy choices. Phil felt strongly that these teens needed something new and engaging, something that could help them believe in themselves. These kids needed arts in their lives! He wanted to offer these students a creative outlet at school, but knew he was going to need help.
Through a one-on-one meeting at the Arts Council, he found out about like-minded arts programs across the Bay Area that he could learn from, several open grants for funding, and a conference specific to arts and corrections that would allow him to tap into a regional network and increase his knowledge-base. After listening to his goals, we created a list of potential local partners who had the interest and skills to help bring this program to life.
Armed with the right tools, Phil took off at full speed and within days he was partnered with two of our regular partners, who became the perfect collaborators. Nimbus Arts provided a studio with a roster of over 30 working artists to teach a myriad of disciplines and Festival Napa Valley was able to fund the program through their Wish List grant program. Working together, they created a powerful and effective six week course that offers the Court & Community School students a unique opportunity to work in a hands-on creative environment.
Witnessing it first hand, I can attest that on studio days the students’ excitement and creative energy is infectious. This is what can happen when you see a need, when you have an idea, and when you reach out for the resources to make it happen. You can learn more about the program and hear directly from students with Phil’s new blog post and video on ArtsCouncilNapaValley.org.
Connecting our community members to these resources and helping them to make these dreams come true is where the Arts Council thrives. Each year our resources reach thousands of individuals with hundreds of personal inquiries - that’s a lot of voices and visions to bring together and we could not do it without you!
All our programs share the goal of empowering our community to its fullest potential. This thread connects all Arts Council services, whether it is our online resource bank and community workshops, or Napa Valley Arts in April, or the ACNV Education Alliance. (See highlights from 2016's programs here.) Recently, added another major service with generous start-up support from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. The new ACNV Community Fund supports the ideas of artists and small nonprofits with up to $5,000 grants. With this fund, as with our partnership on Napa County’s grant program, we not only provide valuable program dollars but offer professional assistance along the way to help applicants learn tools in fundraising, communication, and resources to position them for success.
Whether you have an idea or not, you can be a changemaker and join people like Phil in enriching the lives of others. Your membership, your time, your contributions make you a vital part of this chain of impact - together we make the connections and resources available that will take an great idea from concept to reality. Today, we ask for your continued support in empowering shared visions and unique voices - Will you invest in 2017’s programs with a gift by December 31st?
Together we can create a Napa County where:
creativity is in the culture of every classroom,
where the streets are alive with our own musical sound,
where we seamlessly integrate human imagination & nature,
where we are known as a place where all voices are heard,
where every building illustrates our shared experiences,
and where our local culture is what brings us together!
Every gift gets us closer to that goal and it starts with yours.
Thank you, friends, for your continued support. Happy holiday season and welcome 2017!
Olivia (Everett) Dodd
P.S. Did you know that cities with robust arts programming experience increased connections among people, positive economic development and improved vitality of community spaces, including schools? … Can’t we use a little more of that?
*Findings from The Urban Institute