- Press Release: @ChanCentre + @PuShFestival present Vancouver Premiere of Danse Lhasa Danse: http://t.co/APXKLwta21, 32 mins ago
- RT @VancouverOpera: "singing outside the box" Our major announcement about new strategy, reported in @globeandmail http://t.co/ayfq4P5fT1, 17 hours ago
- Less than two weeks 'til first preview! RT @straightarts: The Georgia Straight proudly sponsors Uncle Vanya http://t.co/apMOtZe1nK, 19 hours ago
- RT @Artscape: Canada's arts & culture sector contributes $46bn annually to our economy. New stats measure arts & culture in US: http://t.co/8C7OMmlzuP, 22 hours ago
- Season's greetings from all of us at LMPR! http://t.co/U8jDxUdYKz, 23 hours ago
- The top literary feuds of 2013: http://t.co/aBlrpuoSN3, Dec 10
The Arts Appeal shines a spotlight on the craft of fundraising for the arts. While many arts organizations are now mid-season, it’s the heart of winter and end-of-year for many of their patrons. In light of this, we turn our focus to the year-end donor appeal letter.
In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge’s cold ways are the embodiment of winter. And, just as winter is followed by spring, so too is Scrooge’s dark heart restored to the benevolent innocence of his youth through his own generosity and gratitude:
“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”
Indeed, ‘tis the season for giving, and with the added incentive of a year-end tax receipt, December makes for an apt time for arts organizations to send their donation appeal letters. With mailboxes bursting with flyers and holiday cards, it’s important to ensure your letter stands out from the crowd.
To write a winter-warming donor appeal letter, consider keeping these five priorities in mind:
- LEAD: Does your letter create immediate interest? Will your patron begin reading? Does it speak to the power of the art you create, present, or program? Did you develop a strong theme? A story? Breaking news? Sometimes you can find a stronger lead in the body of your letter later on and move it up to the introductory paragraph.
- WRITING STYLE: Is it easy to read, friendly and personal? Do the words flow easily like conversation? Is it emotional? Are there good transitions between ideas? Be sure to remove long words, sentences or jargon and use down-to-earth language.
- THE REQUEST: Have you actually asked for a contribution without apology in a strong, straightforward manner? Has the best case been made for why the money is needed? Is the need stated several times and in several ways before the final request?
- URGENCY: Will your patron understand that she or he must move quickly? Is an immediate response urged? Is a strong reason given to act now – like a crisis, deadline, or tremendous opportunity?
- FORMAT: Does it look like a letter? Do you make good use of white space? Do you use graphic devices like subtitles, underlines, indented copy and bulleted lines to increase readability? Remember, if it can’t be easily read, it won’t be read at all.
Finally, and most importantly, make it easy for your patrons to give. Be sure to include clear instructions on how to donate by mail, online, or by phone. Donation forms and clear directions will greatly increase the likelihood of patrons contributing to your organization or project. In this season of giving, don’t hesitate to provide patrons with an opportunity to support the inspired work you do. It’s enough to warm Scrooge on a dark winter day.
To see Scrooge and charity in action, catch SFU Woodward’s presentation of Bah! Humbug from December 11 to 14 at the Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, with proceeds benefiting the flagship Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival.
Need A Lozenge? Ask the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
At a recent performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, Conductor Tilson Thomas was irked by coughing fits from the audience. His solution? Toss two large handfuls of loose cough lozenges into the audience. Luckily, the audience responded in a happy, good-natured spirit with laughter and applause.
Bay Psalm Book Sells for $14.2 Million
On Tuesday at Sotheby’s auction in New York, the price tag was a hefty $14.2 million for the first book ever written and printed in the United States. This valuable book – a translation of biblical psalms – was purchased by Philanthropist David Rubenstein and will be loaned to libraries across the United States.
Public Dreams Society Disbanding
While the Vancouver-based arts organization responsible for the Parade of Lost Souls is closing its doors, fans of the popular event shouldn’t fear. The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society, co-producer of the procession, plans to carry on the annual tradition in addition to taking over the Public Dreams studio space in Mount Pleasant.
Ian McKellen Done with Broadway… Probably
Audiences keen to catch Ian McKellen on stage better act fast. McKellen, 74, has suggested that his current Broadway production – a double bill of Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land with actor Patrick Stewart – could well be his last production on New York stages.
Catch a behind-the-scenes peek of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in rehearsal for the production.
Acid-Attack Trial Update
This week, dancers in the Bolshoi Ballet were unexpectedly called to the witness stand in defense of artistic director Sergei Filin, who was nearly blinded when sulphuric acid was thrown in his eyes. The dancers were called in rebuttal of witness testimony from the defence who claimed Filin had abused his powers as a leader.
A Room of One’s Own is LMPR’s photography series that showcases the beloved spaces belonging to members of Canada’s artistic scene. With a nod to Virginia Woolf’s essay by the same name, we present self-portraits from artists, arts media, and arts administrators in a room they call their own.
This week we spoke with Joseph Elworthy, Executive Director at the Vancouver Academy of Music and cellist in the newly formed Koerner Quartet. Elworthy is a celebrated soloist, recitalist, and chamber music artist who has performed on world-class stages as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, and Sejong Hall. His recordings can be heard on EMI, Sony, Archetype, and Bose record labels. For the past decade, he has been a fixture in Vancouver’s music community – as a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and heading the Vancouver Academy of Music’s cello program prior to his 2011 appointment as ED.
This is Joseph’s room:
Q: Which room did you choose?
I chose my office at the Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM).
Q: What makes this room ‘yours’?
I spend an inordinate amount of time in my office as it also serves as my teaching studio, rehearsal space for my ensemble, Koerner Quartet, and lunch room for my two daughters (where they enjoy spilling juice and muffin crumbs between their music lessons!)
I am fortunate to have spectacular views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains. It’s this view that stimulates contemplative thoughts about VAM’s history and my first introduction to the school as a young lad in 1978. The soundtrack to this hazy reminiscing is most often the violin-playing of Dale Barltrop, Jason Ho and Nicholas Wright – three of my dearest friends and VAM/VSO colleagues whose teaching studios are just down the hall from my office.
Q: Identify three items in the room that you love, and explain why they’re special to you.
I enjoyed personalizing the space with objects that reflect my passions:
1.) The upper left corner shows a large picture of my family (and our pet Weimaraner, Artemis)
2.) Posted to the left of my head is a painted sign made by my daughters – Heather and Hannah – that reads “I Love Everton”, reflecting my family-inherited passion for Everton Football Club and the sport, soccer, which I still avidly play (it was my ‘other’ dream career!)
3.) Pictured to the side of my desk is a rare 300 yr old Ferdinand Gagliano cello which I have the great pleasure of playing. The donor of this cello also presented me with a signed Joan Miro etching of the great Spanish cellist and humanitarian, Pablo Casals, which I proudly display on my desk for motivational purposes for me and my students. Hanging to the left of the cello is the framed cover of my recording of the Bach Solo Cello Suites which was inspired by Casals and in recognition of the incredible patronage of this special donor whom I have been so blessed to encounter.
Joseph Elworthy can be seen with the Koerner Quartet at a free concert on Sunday Dec. 8 at 2pm in VAM’s Koerner Recital Hall. Click here for full details.
Anton Lipovestky is quickly establishing himself as one of the fastest rising stars in Vancouver’s bustling theatre scene. At just twenty-three years old, the Studio 58 grad has already performed on stages including The Cultch, Firehall, Arts Club, and Bard on the Beach, and has seen his words and music presented by companies including Delinquent Theatre, The Virtual Stage, and now, Solo Collective.
In Cool Beans, the composer and playwright draws on a rich understanding our city’s hipster culture to craft a charming and hilarious one-act musical that feels completely of its place and time. Set in an independent East Van coffee shop (brilliantly evoked in Drew Facey’s design), it follows four young adults as they try to find the right combination of ambition, accomplishment, love, freedom, and authenticity that will unlock happiness.
The cast are four Vancouver archetypes, instantly recognizable to any B-Line rider or Main St. perambulator: Meadow, the ambitious, entrepreneurial coffee shop owner who slips away to yoga after morning rush; her boyfriend/employee Holden, a moustachioed hipster, more interested in ethically-sourced beans than any bottom line; Andi, an awkward university student in sweatpants and Uggs; and clean-cut Patrick, who pursued financial success all the way to Dubai.
The quartet could easily be walking clichés, but Lipovetsky, director Rachel Peake, and the talented cast find heart, humanity, and complexity in each. Having introduced nuanced, fully-realized characters, the play proceeds to lovingly lay in to them with every hipster stereotype in the book: fashion (wear something from the 1980′s with something from the 1880′s), feigned disinterest, cleansed chakras, and unnecessarily abbreviated words are all fair game.
Due to the verisimilitude of the characters however, an amazing thing happens: traits that normally annoy become endearing.
When Jay Clift’s Holden tamps espresso at a 92 degree angle (instead of the mainstream 90 degrees), it’s not pretentious- it’s earnest. Patrick, carried off with gusto and charisma by Josh Epstein, is obsessed with Infinitis (both his one in Dubai & his rental in Vancouver) but rather than indicating materialism, this reveals a flawed, compensating state.
The jokes still have us laughing hysterically, but from a place of familiarity and understanding, rather than remove and judgement. The night’s biggest laughs went to Katey Hoffman’s quixotic Andi, who could fascinate even while standing in awkward silence.
That these characters are so relatable in a world full of spontaneous song and dance is further testament to the quality of this piece. Gilli Roskies’ lovely, smokey alto voice sweeps us into the show with a driving, invigorating patter song whose immediate inertia carries right through the show.
The music itself is primarily pop, occasionally tinged with other genre influences. Melodies are simple and catchy, rhythms playful and heavily syncopated, and all accompaniment is provided by a single piano.
Cool Beans is an earnest, immensely entertaining evening that lovingly portrays and pokes fun at our city’s alt-culture crowd. It will provide laughter, warmth, and touches of insight for audiences across the board – even if you don’t own a fixed speed and prefer your jeans loose.
Running to December 1, 2013 at Performance Works on Granville Island. Click here for tickets & info.
This fall LMPR had the opportunity to work with Vancouver-based artist Emily Cooper as she designed artwork for Patrick Street Productions‘ 2014 season. The photographer and designer’s signature style, instantly familiar to fans of Pacific Theatre and the Shaw Festival, combines photo illustration and collage to create compelling, abstracted imagery.
We were fascinated by Emily’s process and thought our readers would be equally intrigued by this unconventional approach.
Below we follow the development of artwork for Patrick Street’s March production of Floyd Collins. The haunting musical, based on true events that took place in 1925 Kentucky, tells the story of a man who set out to find the ultimate tourist attraction, but instead found himself trapped 100 feet below the earth.
Floyd Collins runs March 11-30, 2014 at the newly-opened York Theatre on Commercial Drive. Tickets & info at thecultch.com.