LUMBERYARD Seeks Funds for Continuation of Performing Arts Program
LUMBERYARD Center for Film and Performing Arts today announced that it needs to raise $1 million by the end of the year to continue running its vital performing arts program. LUMBERYARD is the only facility and program in the United States dedicated to providing theater- and dance-makers with technical rehearsals that culminate in out-of-town workshops or premieres.
Design and technology have become integral components of the creation of new performances, but artists lack access to rehearsal facilities equipped to test and achieve audience-ready work. LUMBERYARD has been solving this challenge by creating a center where artists and their companies receive the space, time, and technical and design support they need to fully realize their creative visions. To date, the organization has supported the development of over 80 New York City premieres at some of the City's most prestigious performing arts institutions. LUMBERYARD's current summer season showcases six groundbreaking performances, including a new dance-theater piece by Tony award-winner Rachel Chavkin.
As New York City continues to build more performance venues that emphasize state-of-the art design and technology, the gulf between presenting institutions and artists will grow, unless there is investment in the type of critical infrastructure that LUMBERYARD provides. LUMBERYARD created its innovative performing arts program and built its new center in Catskill, NY, with a seed gift from Solange MacArthur. While the organization is thankful to its patrons, support from foundations and agencies that support the arts has not yet materialized.
"It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision, but we can no longer fund this program alone," said LUMBERYARD Executive Director Adrienne Willis. "The growing list of artists and presenters needing time at LUMBERYARD is a testament to the critical role we are playing in the arts community. Our belief in our mission remains steadfast, and we hope the philanthropic community will join us to fill this critical gap for New York City artists."
Led by award winning artists Wendy Whelan, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Elizabeth Streb, and David Neumann, the New York City performing arts community has rallied around LUMBERYARD, challenging funders of the arts to support the organization. This letter details the difficulties artists face and highlights the meaningful impact LUMBERYARD has had.
"LUMBERYARD is crucial. They have quickly recognized what artists need and have provided it. For me and so many of my peers, making new work requires a place to bring together a large group of collaborators and experiment and hash out ideas on a fully equipped stage. And design and technology are essential elements; we need to work through them just as fully as we do the choreography and direction of the performers," said artist David Neumann. "There are whole productions I have chosen to undertake only because LUMBERYARD exists to make them possible."
LUMBERYARD's downstate-upstate model has also been able to both support the New York City arts community while also driving people and economic development to the Mid-Hudson region. LUMBERYARD selected Catskill as the place to build its new center because of the town's inspiring efforts towards revitalization. The organization will continue to support Catskill through its youth programs and as a film and TV production hub, but without its performing arts program, the economic impact will be significantly reduced. Its inaugural season last year brought thousands of visitors to Catskill.
LUMBERYARD's new "Sprint to a Million" campaign will raise funds solely dedicated to supporting the technical development of new work on an ongoing basis with the hope of hitting its $1 million fundraising deadline by the end of the year. Moving forward, LUMBERYARD will need to secure fifty-percent of its operating budget from philanthropic sources.
LUMBERYARD is a non-profit performing arts and film campus located in the heart of Catskill, New York. With a state-of-the-art facility, LUMBERYARD offers a center for performing artists to test and perfect their work, and gives Hudson Valley audiences the opportunity to see performances before they premiere in New York City.
In addition to providing a vital performing arts program, LUMBERYARD rents its 12,000 square foot space to film and television production companies. 100 percent of the net proceeds from these rentals are invested back into the Catskill community through programs such as: LUMBERYARD Young Performers, which provides free dance education for students living in low-income communities in and around Catskill, Fresh Start, an intervention program for incarcerated teens, and Junior Crew, which provides local high school students summer jobs and workforce development training - from resume building to learning how to network.
Set on the waterfront and just blocks from Main Street, LUMBERYARD is also a venue for weddings and large events, making the space an important part of the community's fabric and an economic driver for the region.