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Ariana DeBose, Branford Marsalis, Mandolin Orange and More To Take Part in BIG NIGHT IN FOR THE ARTS

Four local arts organizations join forces to rally financial support for the arts on March 11.

Ariana DeBose, Branford Marsalis, Mandolin Orange and More To Take Part in BIG NIGHT IN FOR THE ARTS

After nearly a year of closures and cancellations, the arts have suffered disproportionately from the destructive impact of the pandemic. For the first time ever, arts councils from Wake, Chatham, Durham, and Orange Counties are joining forces to enlist support for the arts through a live event - Big Night In for the Arts. The regional fundraising initiative will broadcast live on WRAL-TV and live stream online on Thursday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. It will boast a super-star line-up, including Ariana DeBose, Tony-nominated actress/singer/dancer and Raleigh native; Mandolin Orange, nationally acclaimed folk music duo, based in Chapel Hill; Branford Marsalis, three-time Grammy Award® winner and internationally renowned saxophonist, based in Durham; and Mike Wiley, nationally acclaimed actor and playwright based in Chatham County. Additional national and local artists from each county to be announced.

In partnership with WRAL-TV, Big Night In for the Arts will address the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and highlight the missions of the four organizations that lead and support the Triangle's local arts infrastructure. The fundraising event, taking place about a year after the first stay-at-home orders were implemented, marks a critical step forward in helping local artists and arts/cultural organizations begin their path to recovery. Dollars raised will go toward arts programming, initiatives for equity in the arts, and artist/arts organizations' relief.

"Without question, arts help heal and restore a community," said Joel Davis, Vice President and General Manager of WRAL-TV & FOX 50. "The arts, in many different forms, bring joy, restore peace, and sometimes serve as a critical eye to the human condition. Through this lens, we recognize that supporting programming and fundraising like this is more important than ever, moving forward."

Research shows the arts serve as an avenue for emotional expression and can be particularly therapeutic during stressful times. With the pandemic, arts venues have been the first entities to close and will likely be the last to reopen. Based on data from Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a report authored by Americans for the Arts in 2015, the arts in the Triangle create more than 31,000 full-time jobs and upwards of $850 million in total annual economic activity. The arts are essential to the economic recovery our region desperately needs. With this in mind, organizers for Big Night In for the Arts have vital fundraising goals.

Arts supporters can join the effort prior to the event as sponsors or donate live during the event. Audiences and arts enthusiasts who have enjoyed the arts across the Triangle for years can make a gift to benefit the four counties collectively or designate which specific county they would like to support. Every dollar helps ensure the arts in the Triangle will survive and thrive long after this pandemic has lifted.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've been inspired and amazed by the creativity, compassion, and adaptability of our local arts and culture organizations," said Charles Phaneuf, President, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. "Whether they've been making masks, assisting partner organizations with food distribution, or sharing a moving piece of art that lifts people's spirits, they've been serving their communities like never before. Now is the time to step up our support so that local arts and culture don't just survive but thrive through this crisis and for the future."

Join us on March 11 at 7:00 p.m. and show your support of the arts! For more information on the talented artists headlining this event, sponsorship opportunities, or to donate prior to the event, go to

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