A dedicated group of philanthropic women have “circled” their wagons in support of the arts once again. Last Thursday, Circle members gathered in the atrium at the Vero Beach Museum of Art for their final meeting of the season to vote on which programs to fund for 2018-2019.
The Circle formed nine years ago to support VBMA Community Engagement Programs, ensuring educational art programs are available to everyone, regardless of economic limitations.
Members, this year numbering 129, contribute $250 or more annually and each casts a vote to determinewhich of the museum’s outreach programs The Circle will fund that year. Last fall, museum staff presented nine programs for consideration, and Circle members trimmed the list through research and site visits to four finalists.
“This is a particularly noteworthy year not only because Circle members will vote to distribute $41,500 for one or more of our program finalists, but also because it marks a very important milestone with the distribution of our funds,” announced Nancy Edmiston, steering committee chair.
The Circle has donated just over $275,000 to the museum since its inception, exceeding the group’s initial $25,000 goal. “That goal has been surpassed in nine years, and that’s a remarkable trajectory,” added Edmiston.
Before giving a brief overview of the nominees, Sara Klein, VBMA director of education, added, “It is so wonderful to see so many engaged, educated and enlightened women show their support to programs here at the museum.”
Over wine and hors d’oeuvres the women discussed the merits of the programs up for consideration. Provided at no cost to participants, the programs are grouped into four categories: School Programs; Community Engagement Partnerships; Student Programs; and Family Programs, reaching everyone from youngsters to seniors.
Edmiston announced: “The votes have been counted, and I think perhaps for the first time ever we have a tie for first place. The two top vote-getters are the Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Association Community Impact Partnership and the Fellsmere Adopt-A-School Program.”
The Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Association Community Impact Partnership serves those dealing with dementia and mobility-related ailments. The program focuses on mood elevation through music, movement and art-making to reduce physical and emotional isolation while improving balance, gait and flexibility.
Fellsmere Adopt-A-School serves children at Fellsmere Elementary School by introducing them to museum etiquette, collections and art-making through classroom pre-visits and gallery tours.
Both programs were fully funded, and the third highest vote-getter, the Senior Resource Association Community Impact Partnership, will receive the remaining funds.
Edmiston closed by thanking the women for their support during her two-year term as chair before passing the reins to incoming steering committee chairwoman Cindy Binder.
The Circle will reconvene for the Opening Tea on Nov. 12, 2018. For more information, call Robyn Orzel at 231-0707 x 106.