As we are advised to note the reasons to be grateful during this uniquely challenging year, I want to express my gratitude to a true local treasure: RiverArts, and its collaboration of Board members, talented artists, energetic staff and tireless Executive Director, Maria Wood. The spark for this letter is the piece in the December 12 SPY : “New Items and a Video Tour of RiverArts Holiday Show and Sale,” but the inspiration began on March 16, when the first issue of The Daily Dose, Your Daily Dose of Arts and Community, graced my in-box.
This inviting and lively newsletter appeared immediately after our lives became shadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Daily Dose began with a goal of providing us 30 days of art. To the great benefit of our community, The Daily Dose has continued uninterrupted throughout these long months. The newsletter’s dazzling offerings of Salon discussions with diverse artists, craft projects, website suggestions, art news and art history, classes and clubs, art auctions and artist profiles reflect the abundance of opportunities to weave the power of the visual arts into the fabric of our lives. RiverArts’ support for the Black Lives Matter street murals contributed to crucial community discussions of racial injustice in the history of Chestertown.
When non-profit organizations have faced daunting challenges to participation and funding, RiverArts has adapted creatively to the realities of the pandemic. The beautiful new website, the online presence of KidSPOT, Gift Shop and Holiday Show/Sale, the classes and community presence of the arts in so many forms are the result of a commitment to keep the arts available to us all. We are extremely fortunate to have such a vibrant, engaged community arts organization burning brightly during this dark period of the pandemic. We should appreciate and support RiverArts and the artists.