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A Letter to Our Community
CVNC covers arts presentations across North Carolina.
November 29, 2016 - Raleigh, NC:
Most of us will spend the next month buying presents for our loved ones. This year we hope you'll also think about the arts organizations you "love," and consider adding a few more "presents" to your list.
As we at CVNC think about this year – and next – here are our important considerations and how you can help (HINT: Give Today!
Can we expand our coverage? Must we cut the number of reviews in the coming year? Will we have enough money to continue throughout our fiscal year? Our work is about and for you, the presenters, artists, and audience members who rely on our services:
- Presenters use our previews to publicize their events as we all share the links through Facebook and Twitter accounts. You also share our reviews with your patrons, to let them know what experts in the field think of your performances.
- Artists take comments from our critics (and others) to heart, and through the years we see increasing maturity in their craft. Even visitors to our state freely share our Facebook and Twitter posts as they tour around the world. These posts increase their publicity and enhance presenters' standing in the community and among similar presenters.
- Audience members find performances and exhibits to attend in our calendar. In 2016, we have posted 3,592 unique events representing 6,591 performances – and 2016 isn't over yet! Through our reviews they learn more about the music, theatre, dance, or exhibits presented. And they learn how our critics evaluate those events.
But when CVNC talks about continuing its work, we must talk about our finances:
- Our budget for the year is $95,000. It covers three employees (only one fulltime), up to 40 contracted critics providing 400 reviews, website and other technology fees, and small items like office supplies and postage. For the past two years we have fallen far short of our budget, so we have used savings from earlier years - we cannot continue to do this.
- Grants cover 1/4 of our operational costs. We're grateful for the suport of the City of Raleigh through its Arts Commission, United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County, and the NC Arts Council for their support through the years. We need arts councils in other counties to supprt the work we do for their local artists and organizations.
We also receive revenue from:
- Donations: CVNC's largest donations include two out-of-state gifts of approximately $5K each – one is truly anonymous – and a third worth $1K. All gifts must be celebrated. None can ever be expected. How do we expand our donor base so that we see more support from outside the Triangle and Triad?
- Ad sales: You've seen them on all of our website pages. These ads provide low-cost publicity for presenters across our state - less expensive than any commercial paper can offer - and they also amount to 10% of our income.
So if there is no improvement in revenue, what do we do to finish this fiscal year and beyond? These are the options we are considering:
- Reduce our service area: Should we go back to the beginning and cover only the arts in the Triangle and Triad? The easiest way to convince us otherwise is for donors from outside these locales to step up – to make donations and purchase ads. Will grantors across the state consider supporting our work despite the fact that we "live" in Wake County..
- Reduce the artistic disciplines we cover: We began by covering classical music and then added theatre, dance, jazz, and to a small degree, visual arts. The vast majority of our donations continue to come from the music side of the house. Do we cede coverage of theatre, dance, and visual arts to the free bloggers? Once again, we urge donors to vote for us with their dollars.
- Reduce the number of reviews we publish: In 2015, we published 455 edited reviews across the state. This year we will publish 400. How many should we cut for the rest of our fiscal year, through June? Presenters continue to beg us for reviews, and we know there are many fine organizations that deserve coverage - coverage that is basically gone from commercial papers, here and elsewhere in the nation. How do we decide which ones we skip?
Of course we want your financial support but this year we also need your opinion. Even if you cannot donate this year, we would like your opinion on how we bring income in line with expenses so that CVNC can continue into the future. Write to info@CVNC.org - even better send us a note with your donation!
Thank you for your support since 2001. Together we'll continue to fill the gap in arts criticism across North Carolina!