Among the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Frederick arts community was a significant part.
“It just wiped us out of funding,” said Christine Mosere of the Endangered Species (Theater) Project. She said the pandemic dropped her group’s funding to about 25 percent of what it had been in 2019.
Mosere shared this experience Wednesday at a roundtable in Frederick with U.S. Rep. David Trone (D) on the pandemic’s impact on the arts.
The congressman urged the representatives from various arts organizations and the Frederick Arts Council to work with his office and talk with city and county leaders about getting funds from the American Rescue Plan to help support their groups.
“Let us work together with you” to help with funding, the congressman said.
Frederick County is expected to ultimately get about $50 million from the plan, and the city of Frederick more than $10 million, according to Trone’s office.
Trone said he studied some art history in college and spent a semester in Vienna going to the opera and theater. He tries to go to an art museum whenever he’s in a different city, he said.
Local groups do tremendous work with so little funding, said Louise Kennelly of the arts council. Frederick is an incubator that has drawn more and more creative people, she said.
“We just keep going. We just keep doing it,” she said.
So much of the focus on recovering from the pandemic has been on restaurants and small businesses — and with good reason, Trone said. But there also needs to be a focus on more creative aspects.
Kathryn Vicere of the Maryland Ensemble Theater, which helps bring arts into the local schools, agreed.
“Arts is the last thing to be coming back,” she said.
Vicere said there’s a lot of data that shows exposure to the arts at younger ages makes people more likely to patronize and participate in them when they’re older.
Trone urged Kennelly to gather a list of the smaller organizations to present to local leaders for support.
“There’s a ton of money there,” he said.