You may have seen our last post, which broke down “what we’ve lost” as a result of COVID-19. Although our organization continues to face challenges, we have been able to pivot and continue to do what we do best: engage many communities in need.
Turning a program cancellation into a life-saving gift…
We experienced an unexpected way to give back following the cancellation of a highly-anticipated mosaic mural program at Emily’s House. Emily’s House is Toronto’s only hospice for children and families facing life-threatening illnesses. Featuring a home-like, comforting environment, it is a place of compassion, care, comfort, laughter, learning and play.
VIBE teamed up with the Ralph M. Barford Foundation with plans to engage families and patients to create a vibrant mosaic mural to brighten up Emily’s House. Unfortunately, this was one of 40 programs that we were forced to cancel due to the coronavirus.
Thanks to the launch of our online programs, we were able to extend a small employment opportunity to artist Cristina Delago, who was initially hired to lead the Emily’s House program. Cristina channeled her vast experience in mosaic-making into an episode of VIBE Makers, our artist-made content series.
Last week, a member of our team stopped by Emily’s House to donate a box of N95 masks that were purchased several months ago, for use in the mosaic program. Recent circumstances have changed the purpose of these masks so drastically; equipment once intended to be protective gear for young folks creating something special has quickly evolved into life-saving, hard-to-come-by devices.
We are staying in close contact with Emily’s House in an effort to begin our mural program once it is safe to do so.
Supporting Seniors who need us most…
At the request of our partner organizations, we are working on opportunities to improve the quality of life for seniors. Many residents of long-term care facilities only have a short amount of time to connect with loved ones using a community iPad. We employed Allison Buela, a VIBE Arts Educator and dance instructor, to develop a seated, adapted dance video for seniors to access from their rooms. This interactive, movement-based lesson is specific to elders and works to boost morale, improve mental health, activate the body and spark joy.
We are currently working with CAMH, Covenant House and many City of Toronto Long Term Care centres to bring the arts into the confines of residents’ rooms. We need your help to make these opportunities possible, so we can continue to relieve and care for these at-risk members of our community.
COVID-19’s Impact on VIBE Arts:
- 40 programs canceled in 30 locations, with hopes of being rescheduled
- Includes postponement of a large public art installation in North York
- 30+ artists have lost steady work
- 10%+ loss of annual revenue as a result of postponing Arts Effect, our yearly fundraising auction
- 7 community events canceled
- 40%+ of our annual budget remains unable to be accessed due to funding restrictions and project-based funds
Dear VIBE supporters,
As we continue to adjust to our new work, school and living arrangements, we take reassurance in the fact that our actions thus far have resulted in positive outcomes for public health. At VIBE, we continue to follow the guidance of health officials and have postponed or cancelled all programming. Our staff team continues to work from the safety of their homes.
Last week the CEO of the AGO shared that “Art and culture give our community and Canada strength. They fortify a sense of who we are and give many a stronger sense of purpose.” We couldn’t agree more. We know that arts and culture are helping people get through this trying time and will continue to play a vital role in healing and bringing people together once this time is behind us.
Our principal goal is to keep VIBE’s doors open once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Support from our donors has given us some hope that this is possible. As of May 1st, we have maintained a full staff team and continue to offer complete salaries and benefits.
Our team is small but mighty, and we are working to keep these talented people employed as we continue towards our mission. This team is the reason why, in only 2 short weeks after our office shut down, we were able to streamline 4 unique online programs to provide income to a fraction of our artists while adapting to maintain VIBE’s relevance in the community.
We are proud of these programs, but we know we’ll have even more work ahead of us post-COVID-19, in the communities across Ontario that suffered the most. We want to be here – to exist and provide arts education, mentorship, and use creativity to heal countless communities once this pandemic is behind us.
I hope that you will continue to stay in touch and support VIBE through this trying time. Giving Tuesday is right around the corner, and we hope that you’ll find it in you to donate and support the longevity of our organization.
Sending positive VIBES to you and your loved ones,
Executive Director, VIBE Arts