City of Morro Bay awards grant to Art Center Morro Bay

The Russell Gallery upstairs at the Art Center Morro Bay. Photo by Ruth Ann Angus.

The art center was seeking grants to help deal with lost revenue during the pandemic

– The Morro Bay Art Association announced that it had received a $5,000 grant from the Town of Morro Bay for the Morro Bay Art Center. Pat Newton, president of the association, was happy to talk about upcoming plans for the money.

“First of all,” she said, “I want to thank Scott Collins, Mayor John Headdding and the Committee for Covid Relief and City Council for considering us for this grant.”

Newton went on to explain that the art center was seeking grants to help with lost revenue due to its closure during COVID-19. “We didn’t meet the criteria for a federal grant,” Newton explained, “because we’re not a museum, and we’re not doing an action, and we’re not a music organization.” The art center did not respect any of the codes associated with the scholarships offered. “We fit the nonprofit part,” she said, “but not the codes. We are therefore extremely grateful for this grant from the city.

During the lockdown, the art center lost money like many other shops and businesses. Newton said they survived because they had a good financial organization in place. “We put money aside for a rainy day and we always manage that way,” she said.

The arts association owns the building on Main Street in downtown Morro Bay and has no mortgages. They just have to pay taxes. However, while sheltering in place, their bills rose.

“Our marketing deals with ads have grown,” Newton explained. “We increased our budget by the thousands with many local publications and those businesses were struggling as well. We had to watch what we really owed. They contacted publishers and asked for a break on marketing bills. Access Publishing, which produces the SLO Visitor’s Guide, agreed especially as they were skipping an issue during the pandemic. She says The New Times allowed lesser amounts due, which lowered their fees for 2021, but those fees are back to normal now. “We felt responsible for paying these companies the best we could,” Newton said, “because we also wanted to keep them afloat.”

The art gallery was not open during shelter-in-place and artists were asked to leave their works in the gallery. “We let the performers know it was safe and turned off the lights and waited,” Newton said. In the background, they worked to see how to reopen, looking at what was required by law and what Cal OSHA wanted them to do.

Even though it is a voluntary organization, they still have to follow the rules. “We ordered floor stickers and cleaning products,” she explained, “and spoke to the cleaners who come in once a week to make sure they do a deep clean with products. to ensure everyone’s safety.” KN95 masks were given to docents and paper masks were purchased to be on hand for anyone who might enter without a mask. They wanted to make sure everyone would be as safe as possible. These necessary security elements have increased the costs of the center. Stickers alone cost hundreds. Newton said the public was generous with the donations that helped.

Receptions for new exhibition openings were also reduced for a long time, but are now back within guidelines. “Despite everything, we were still able to award scholarships to high school and college youth,” Newton said, “we donated over $10,000 for 2021.” In 2020 there was also no art in the park and this event is the main source of their annual fundraiser. In 2021, they had to cancel the first Art in the Park but were able to organize the other two.

Plans for the $5,000 fund are to remove old fluorescent lights from the gallery and replace them with more economical and environmentally friendly LED lights. Good lighting is essential to better highlight the work of art. The Ccnter has already replaced the lighting in the lower classrooms with LED lights thanks to another grant. The cost to change the classroom lighting was $8,000. “We’re looking at a budget of $1,500 for labor to remove old lights and install new ones in the gallery,” Newton said. New track lighting will go to the central area and additional lights will emphasize the 3D art.

There were no shows in 2021, but several are scheduled for 2022, including the National Encaustic Show and the National Pastel Exhibit. Rounding out the year was the local Painter’s Group, Central Coast Sculptures and the Printmakers Group. Receptions will be held outside on the patio. The art exchange days are also outdoors.

“Visitors were great coming into the gallery,” Newton said, “everyone agrees to wear a mask and we can give them a mask if they don’t have one. Even during the Farmers Market, everything is ok. went well.

-By Ruth Ann Angus

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About the Author: News Staff

The A-Town Daily News press team wrote and edited this article based on local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this journal and the founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn or follow his blog. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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