Reaching Out

PARKERSBURG – The target number for Artsbridge’s 2014 United Arts Fund Campaign is smaller than last year’s, but the reason goes to the heart of the organization.

Artsbridge board president and campaign chairman Lee Rector said the 2013 goal of $145,000 included grants and other funding sources. Artsbridge still expects to receive such funding but it’s not being counted as part of this year’s campaign, for which the goal is $75,000.

“Let’s just concentrate on these next two months and raising $75,000 from individual donors and our corporate sponsors,” Rector told about a dozen board members and supporters during Thursday’s breakfast at Artbridge’s new 925 Market St. office. “This way, they’re really going to see how much money that they have brought into this organization.”

Artsbridge supports the arts on both sides of the Ohio River by providing funding to artists and arts entities, along with offering art activities for students and schools in Wood, Washington and Morgan counties. The community’s support has been a key factor in the success of its mission over the last 27 years, board members said.

“Our community really does have a foundation of arts,” said Sarah Townsend, treasurer for the board. “Artsbridge’s role has really been to nurture and sustain that appreciation.”

Although donations are accepted year-round, the fund drive is a period of increased emphasis that runs through June. Artsbridge mailed 1,800 letters to current donors as part of the campaign and is looking for new donors as well, resources board members are tasked with helping to find.

“We have 22 board members, and they’re from all walks of life,” Rector said. “We are a working board.”

The United Arts Fund helps finance events like the Very Spectacular Arts Festival, an annual event exposing special-needs students to art activities; the Artsbridge Summer Music Series; and the Arts Encounter, a new event planned for May 14 that aims to expose middle school students to theater and painting experiences.

It also supports art education activities, through which the organization reached more than 10,000 students over the past year through the Artists on Tour series, which brings three national touring groups to the area.

Artsbridge maintains a catalog of local artists and performers who can work with local elementary schools.

Artsbridge director Jane Irvine said anyone interested in donating to the campaign can contact the office at 304-428-3988.

“We’ll come to them. We’ll give them whatever information they need,” she said.