Dear Friends,

Greetings from the executive director emeritus of the Athens Area Council for the Arts.

During this unprecedented time of fairly constant worry and uncertainty, I’ve found myself reflecting on the rich history and contribution of AACA and The Arts Center to my life and the life of the community. I wish, I wish — we could all gather together in the Sue E. Trotter Theatre to reminisce about the early days of AACA; about Arts in the Park at Veterans (Sunset) Park; about seminal performances at AJHS (remember Judy Collins? The Glenn Miller Orchestra? Kathy Mattea? Richie Havens?); about our acquisition and occupancy of The Arts Center (such an exciting and inspiring time); about our prolific and high quality community theater offerings — about so many peak experiences that have shaped all of our lives. AACA has been providing life-changing experiences in the arts for our citizens for over 40 years! Can you believe it?

Of course, at this moment, our ability to provide programming of the nature to which we’ve become accustomed is severely limited. As much as that grieves me, I know that this “season” is not going to last forever. However, it does

give rise to the next burning question:

“How do we survive until this ‘season’ is over?”

It is an amazing and laudable fact that your arts center’s excellent financial foundation is the result of 75% EARNED INCOME — ticket sales, member contributions/donations and sponsorships. This is a great testimony to our worth in the community! In short, AACA’s most essential and generous support comes from YOU! It also points to the very real problem presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. For at least the next few months, we cannot produce the kind of programming which brings significant “earned income.”

This is undoubtedly the challenge of a lifetime for this organization.

So, in this unusual “season,” we turn to you — our loyal supporters — to ask that you consider going an extra mile with us by making a special gift to your arts organization, over and above your usual membership support. Our suggested amount is a one-time, tax deductible gift of $120 to help see us through the coming months, and to help us celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month.

Checks made payable to AACA may be mailed to: PO Box 95, Athens, TN 37371-0095. In addition, the staff is available by phone at 423-745-8781, or by appointment Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive your gift.

We will get through this together! Plans are underway for the eventual reopening of our doors with all the music, theater, and art you’ve come to love and expect from your arts center. Thank you for helping us be here for you in this time and in the future!

Onward for community arts!

Ellen Kimball is Executive Director Emeritus of the Athens Area Council for the Arts.

Ellen Kimball is Executive Director Emeritus of the Athens Area Council for the Arts.

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