As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
It has been, without question, a devastating year for artists. Between gallery closures, event cancellations, and diminished sales, artists across North Carolina need the full support of the community more than ever.
Artists in Chatham County have managed through the pandemic in many different ways. Many artists decided to embrace new offerings or online options for their classes, despite some initial misgivings.
“When COVID hit, things took a dive. That was a hard pill to swallow, and it still is,” notes Ebony Grissett-Delgado, owner of the Chatham Dance Connection. “We’re still trying to come back after closing abruptly last March. One week we were in class, and then the next week I had to come to the studio and tell my teachers that that was it. We were not allowed to stay open, and we didn’t know when we’d be able to open again. I cried all the way there because at that point, we didn’t know what was in store. It was very scary. I had never done a Zoom class. I didn’t even know what Zoom was until one of my parents mentioned it to me. So all of a sudden we went through two weeks of trying to figure things out. How do we maintain? How do we hold on to our kids? How do we continue to do what we love?”
For fiber artist Tanja Lipinski Cole, the past year turned out to be a time to provide well-needed materials for the community. “Normally I would work all year long to make things, and then I would go and sell them at local markets, such as the Pittsboro Fall Street Fair and the Saxapahaw Holiday Market. In years past, I would make more in those few days selling my wares then I would all year long. I also hemmed formal dresses for proms and weddings, but with everything canceling, I lost that income, too. In addition, all of my summer sewing camps for kids were canceled, which was a huge chunk of my yearly income. What’s really helped me to make it through the pandemic is selling masks.”
After a hard year for these artists and many, many others across North Carolina, arts councils from Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties are joining forces to enlist support for the arts through a live event, Big Night In for the Arts. Born out of a love and respect for the arts, the goal of Big Night In for the Arts is to help local artists and arts/cultural organizations begin on a path of recovery and re-entry after the pandemic has lifted. The regional fundraising initiative will broadcast live on WRAL-TV on March 11 at 7pm, where it will be closed captioned and audio described.
It will boast a super-star line-up, including Chatham County’s Mike Wiley, nationally acclaimed actor and playwright, who shines the light on key figures in African-American history through his performances; Ariana DeBose, Tony-nominated actress/singer/dancer and Raleigh native, who will be starring as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film West Side Story; Mandolin Orange, nationally acclaimed folk music duo based in Chapel Hill, featuring singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz; Branford Marsalis, three-time Grammy Award® winner and internationally renowned saxophonist, based in Durham, who recently wrote the score for Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; and Scotty McCreery, ACM and CMT Award-winning country music singer and Garner native.
A stream of local artists will also be participating in Big Night In for the Arts to help support their arts communities. Chatham County artist, Marcelle Harwell Pachnowski, who is nationally and internationally collected and exhibited, visualizes color and rhythmic patterns when she listens to music, resulting in paintings with a spontaneous mix of color, rhythm, texture, and movement. She will be creating a mixed media piece, which will be utilized to help raise additional funds for the campaign.
“The pandemic has been a very introspective time for me,” says Marcelle. “The constraints involved with social distancing and true isolation made me aware of my needs as an artist. Not being able to have personal interaction with other artists, attend performances, or be able to see the end in sight of this pandemic has caused a true void in my art and my life. We need to support the arts! Big Night In for the Arts on March 11 will begin this renaissance and heighten the awareness of the arts communities in the Triangle.”
The need to support artists has never been more critical. As Marcelle notes, “The arts, and those who produce them, are vital for our existence and our civilization.
The arts bring us joy and help us express our values as well as build bridges between cultures. This is our purpose as artists: bridging ethnic, socioeconomic, and personal barriers, leading the way to peace and harmony. Artists spark creativity and innovation, and they must persevere.”
Arts supporters can donate prior to the event 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.
Join us on March 11 and show your support of the arts!
- What: Big Night In for the Arts
- When: Thursday, March 11, 7pm
- Where: Broadcast will be live on WRAL-TV and livestreamed (Livestream link can be found at WRAL.com when the event begins!)
- Cost: Free
- How to donate: Click here to donate today!
For more information, visit BigNightIn.org.