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YAC Looks for Community Support on Giving Tuesday

COVID-19 has created a crisis for local arts agencies with the closing of theaters, canceling of festivals, and shuttering of art spaces. These community organizations are both cultural and economic drivers across the state.

Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving scheduled for Tuesday and the Mississippi Presenters Network has selected six organizations across the state that have been impacted by the crisis but are still striving to serve their communities. All funds raised by MSPN will be donated to these community organizations.

One of them is Oxford’s own Yoknapatawpha Arts Council that has been impacted by COVID-19 in several ways, according to Director Wayne Andrews.

“It required us to postpone many of our programs or remaking them,” he said. “We are looking at this impact reaching into the summer even as the shelter-in-place restrictions lift.”

The impact has been economic since much of what YAC does is linked to the community. Events such as the Art Crawl, while highlighting local visual art spaces also attract the public to the Square.

“YAC has had to reschedule major events such as the rodeo planned for the new Lafayette County Arena. Theater events often include dinner out before the show and art classes create teaching jobs,” Andrews said.

The Powerhouse, Pavilion and the new Lafayette County also provide service to groups like the Garden Club, School programs, culinary classes and community events along with rentals that support these community programs.

YAC has suffered $60,000 in revenue loss, Andrews said.

“While facing this challenge, we have focused on supporting artists and restaurant employees impacted by the crisis,” he said. “We launched the Stay@Home festival to employees artists and restaurant works. We have provided over 100 grants and $10,000 in support in the local community helping ensure artists and restaurant works had income to help buy food, pay utilities, or put to rent.”

The Mississippi Presenters Network is a statewide arts organization that works to support arts presenters in Mississippi communities.

“We appreciate Mississippi Presenters Network selecting us, along with five other organizations across the state to support with any donations they receive,” Andrews said.

Donations can be made online at www.presentmississippi.org or by mail at P.O. Box 544 Oxford, MS 38655.

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