“We all want to go the distance for what we love. That distance has begun. Things are bleak, but batons will be and are already being passed to generations who will emerge on the other side of this who will have the brilliant chance to build a whole new art world.”

Those words were written by Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine, about the impact of COVID-19 on the world of arts and culture.

According to recent studies, more than 30 percent of America’s museums, and up to 50 percent of nonprofit theaters, may close permanently as a result of COVID-19. Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, reported that more than 35 percent of all nonprofit art organizations have been forced to dramatically reduce staff, and nearly 100 percent have canceled events due to the pandemic.

We, the board of Sun Valley Museum of Art, are taking this moment and the threat to our future seriously. Together with SVMoA leadership, we have taken painful yet necessary steps to preserve the organization and protect our community, including canceling our summer concert series and the 25th season of Company of Fools, implementing staff layoffs and furloughs and drastically reducing our budget.

These decisions have been heart-wrenching. We are eternally grateful for each and every individual on the SVMoA staff, and for all our patrons and supporters throughout the community. Your passion and commitment in the face of these challenges is remarkable.

The board is committed to its role as a steward of SVMoA’s mission: to enrich the community through transformative arts and educational experiences. In the coming months, we will be taking decisive and proactive steps to ensure that SVMoA will be here to serve the Wood River Valley well into the future.

First, we are meeting with the SVMoA staff to collaborate on adapting our programming to the realities of the pandemic. What new ideas can be implemented, given limitations on gatherings? What do the families, students and teachers of the valley need from us? What can we afford, given the loss of revenue from ticket sales?

Second, we will be meeting with you, the members of our community. What do you want SVMoA to be in this new, challenging world? What are our essential services? Are there new audiences we can serve?

Third, we are creating a task force—including members of the community—to explore the future of Company of Fools. How can it continue to play a central role in the artistic life of the Wood River Valley until the time when theater performances once again can be produced?

Fourth, we are exploring new staffing structures and leadership models. How can we increase our efforts to work in more equitable and inclusive ways? How do we ensure that our organization is lean and efficient in the face of financial challenges?

In the year of SVMoA’s 50th anniversary, these steps, and more, are our pledge to this community. The board of SVMoA is ready to go the distance to protect this powerful and unique institution and what it brings to the Wood River Valley. With your help, together with the creativity and passion of our staff and artists, we can continue to delight and inspire, and to build life-changing arts experiences that are essential to keeping our community the remarkable place that it is.

If you want to be a part of this exciting future, please reach out to us. We want you to be a part of the discussion. Contact us at information@svmoa.org.


The Sun Valley Museum of Art Board of Directors consists of Linda M. Bowling, Amber Busuttil Mullen, Kelly Corroon, Anne Edlen, Adam Elias, Ellen Gillespie, Ron Greenspan, Kay Hardy, Caroline Hobbs, Ellen James, Andie Laporte, Barbara Lehman, Linda Nicholson, Wendy Pesky and Jim Reid

Load comments