One of my favorite cultural institutions is closing for now. The Cotuit Center is one of the most vibrant and important centers for the arts in the entire area. It is very sad to see them have to take this step, but it’s understandable with the unprecedented and precarious times that we’re all facing. I will be waiting with anticipation for the news of their grand reopening, as I know the entire artistic community and all of Cape Cod will be. Here is the statement that was released today. CCA, Stay Strong, and Stay Safe!
A Message from the Executive Director
Friday, March 20, 2020
Based on the recommendations and policies of local and federal officials and our own commitment to the health and well-being of our community, Cotuit Center for the Arts has made the difficult decision to cancel all programming and educational offerings until further notice.
As of March 20, 2020, all employees have been laid off, and my salary will be reduced by 50%.
The financial impact to the Center during this crisis is particularly hard. While we have taken steps to cease all non-essential expenditures, there are still fixed costs that we cannot cover when our programming revenue streams come to a halt and when anticipated donations have understandably been delayed or jeopardized due to the drop in the stock market.
All the news is not bad. Over the course of the last week, a dozen patrons were able to make an additional financial contribution that puts us in a position to responsibly ramp up our programming and operations when the time comes. The other good news is that our approach to the current capital expansion project has proved effective and prudent. We are grateful to have raised funds and completed work on the first two phases of the campaign. We have communicated over the past two years that each phase of our project would stand on its own and that we would move forward with the next phase only after the money was raised. We are grateful to have opened the beautiful new ceramics studio and to have completed curb improvements on the adjacent property having raised 100% of the capital, and when we become operational again the studio will be buzzing and generating revenue.
Another thing happened this week worth noting. We had planned an open juried art exhibition for mid-March/April with the theme BLUES. Although we are technically closed to the public and may remain so for some time, we practiced responsible social distancing and accepted work from artists who were comfortable delivering it. 125 pieces were delivered on Monday, March 16 from the Cape’s artist community and Michelle Law hung a beautiful show. The work will remain in our galleries until the public has had a chance to see it.
My concentration over the next weeks and months will be to assess programming opportunities, both live and streaming, the development of multiple operating budget scenarios for the remainder of 2020, and the following year, seeking government and other sources of financial relief and so on.
The most difficult part for me personally is the staff layoff. Our staff is amazing, and many of them have been at the Center for 5 – 10 years or longer. I hope and pray the assistance from the government will sustain them and hope you will keep them in your thoughts as well. In the meantime, I’ll do what I did ten years ago – clean the toilets, mop the floors, answer the phones, and develop the plan for our future in an uncertain environment.
To those donors who stepped up this week – without your support, I don’t know how we would be able to re-open regardless of when that time comes. There are no sufficient words for my gratitude.
Finally – what can you expect in the coming weeks and months? I hope to start sharing video highlights of some of my favorite moments from past performances. We hope to organize some live streaming events in the future. We hope to provide virtual gallery tours. And hopefully, before you know it, we’ll all be rocking out to the musicals TOMMY and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, presented live on our main stage theater; we’ll be enjoying provocative and edgy theater performed by our supremely talented local actors in the Black Box; our galleries will continue to inspire; and we’ll be taking painting, writing, ukulele, and pottery classes; and we’ll be having some wine and music on Wednesdays. So please check in by visiting our website and social media pages. I look forward to seeing you all at the Center we love before too long.
David Kuehn, Executive Director, Cotuit Center for the Arts