Artsbridge aiming high with fund drive

BELPRE – Artsbridge will be trying to raise $145,000 during its United Arts Fund Drive, which kicked off Thursday in Belpre.

Artsbridge raised $135,000 in the fund drive last year.

The Artsbridge Board of Directors, its advisory committee and staff met at the Belpre Campus of Marietta Memorial Hospital to announce the fund drive’s start and discuss other business relating to the arts communities in Wood and Washington counties.

“The kick-off marks the beginning of a three-month campaign to raise money for ‘Arts in Education’ as well as the other programs and services Artsbridge provides,” said Artsbridge Executive Director Mark Lanyon. “Many local organizations benefit from this campaign as Artsbridge promotes and re-grants much of the money it raises to local symphonies, galleries, artists and theaters.”

Dr. Roger Anderson is chairman of the fund drive.

Anderson lives and practices in Marietta and has been an avid supporter of the arts, Lanyon said.

“This year he is lending his support to help raise awareness about the Artsbridge mission and how it benefits local businesses to have a thriving cultural community,” he said.

The Mid-Ohio Valley is starting to experience a new era of increased prosperity through oil and gas development, Anderson said.

“It would be great for many of those people to be involved in the advancement of Artsbridge,” he said. “We will have a number of functions to raise community awareness of Artsbridge and its importance in the community.”

Artsbridge officials talked about artistic efforts in Wood and Washington counties and doing more to bring the efforts of the two communities closer together and build interest in Artsbridge.

The fund gives grants of $4,000-$5,000 to help support programming for the Mid-Ohio Valley Ballet in Parkersburg, the Mid-Ohio Valley Players in Marietta, the River Cities Symphony Orchestra, the Parkersburg Choral Society and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

The fund provided support for the Theatre de Jeunesse for its Youth Theater Arts Project, the Evergreen Arts and Humanities Series at Washington State Community College for performances, the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival to help raise awareness of varied cultures in the community, the WVU-P Music Department for the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Music Celebration, the Colony Theater in Marietta to write original music to help set Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in Appalachia, the Guild Builders children’s program at the Actors Guild, and programs that bring artists and performers into schools and special events for children throughout the community.

The fund drive will run April, May and June, Lanyon said.

“It is our biggest fund drive of the year and generates the most income that we regrant to other organizations and local artists,” he said. “For 26 years, Artsbridge has provided students in both West Virginia and Ohio with live artists who inspire hands-on creation of art in many forms.

“The purpose of Artsbridge is to improve the quality of life in the Mid-Ohio Valley by promoting and supporting the arts through financial and technical support and arts education in our schools and community,” Lanyon said.