Yippee, hooray, wahoo!  2021 is here!

What a year 2020 was – certainly a year of major change and resiliency for many individuals and organizations, including CBCA. Reflecting on the past year, despite the many challenges, there were also many accomplishments.

CBCA started the year out strong by recognizing outstanding arts and business partnerships with our annual Business for the Arts Awards held on March 10, 2020. We were extremely fortunate that our event was one of the last held before the initial COVID-19 shut down.

Like many businesses’ employees, CBCA staff started working remotely on March 13, and continues to do so. However, the team didn’t skip a beat, immediately adapting programming and developing resources to better serve the changing needs of the arts and business sector. This included postponing, canceling, reimagining and launching new programs and events, as well as serving as a centralized resource for arts relief efforts and virtual arts experiences. In fact, CBCA tripled the number of Advancing Creatives workshops and trainings for artists originally planned for 2020.  CBCA also offered a 3-month membership extension to our business and cultural members who needed flexibility during this unprecedented time.

In addition, we initiated regular meetings with our regional cultural partners to work more collaboratively and strengthen our arts ecosystem at a time it was needed most. As a result, we helped launch and host the Arts through it All campaign in April to encourage public support for the arts with a consistent, coordinated message. In December, CBCA managed an expanded version of this public awareness campaign with a holiday appeal of “Gifts of Art from the Heart” to ensure arts & culture endure and a call to action of Give – Gift – Shop local to support the struggling arts and culture sector.

CBCA also celebrated a 35th anniversary milestone last year. We had initially planned a big bash in June but pivoted to a series of virtual events curated around an ‘80s MIXTAPE theme held in November. These virtual events brought together members, stakeholders and past supporters in engaging and entertaining arts experiences, as well as provided an opportunity to commission and compensate local artists. In conjunction, we carried out a 35th anniversary fundraising campaign to support CBCA’s mission, future programming and statewide impact.

CBCA’s board of directors and committees grew and made numerous contributions in 2020. We especially want to thank the members of our Advocacy and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committees, which have both been very busy over the past year. With the struggling arts, culture and creative industries sector, CBCA has leaned more into advocacy work over the past year and will continue to grow capacity in this area in 2021. And with the tragedies of the past year mobilizing the Black Lives Matter movement, CBCA has also strengthened our focus to this ongoing critical work with DEI serving as a compass in all that we do.

What we’ve realized on this journey over the past year is CBCA’s mission is more relevant than ever, and the intersection of arts and business yields numerous direct and indirect benefits for our society.

We know the arts are essential to our humanity and our economy. A lesson we should all take from 2020 is local arts and culture is not something we can take for granted. The arts spread joy, wonder, and inspiration and help us come together as a community. In challenging times, such as over the past year, individuals and businesses have turned to the arts to nurture our mental health and relieve stress, entertain and energize us, spur innovation and problem-solving, and through creative expression, attempt to make sense of what has been an unimaginable year.

Finally, we want to thank all our members, donors, sponsors, volunteers and partners for your investment in CBCA over this past year. We are so grateful for your ongoing support and steadfast dedication, even in a pandemic!  We are optimistic for the year ahead and look forward to a time when we can safely gather again in-person, but for now, we are busy planning many exciting and original virtual programs and experiences for the new year.

With deep gratitude,

Christin Crampton Day

CBCA Executive Director