By Rebekah Seder
At WRAG, we talk a lot about how philanthropy goes “beyond dollars” in reference to the creative ways that grantmakers have an impact beyond simply cutting checks. As we document in our report of the same name, going beyond dollars can be as complex as creating funding collaboratives or launching public-private partnerships. But sometimes, going beyond dollars can be as simple as displaying beautiful art on your office walls.
This is what the staff at the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR) recently discovered. Last year, the foundation redesigned their office, which created several broad expanses of blank white walls in serious need of some color. This led to the idea for the foundation’s “Gallery for Good” – a rotating exhibit of works of art by emerging visual artists from throughout the region. While many of the Community Foundation’s donors support the arts, CFNCR doesn’t directly fund the arts and humanities through their discretionary grantmaking. The Gallery for Good, however, provides them with a non-grantmaking approach to supporting new artists and promoting the region’s vibrant arts and culture sector.
The gallery is managed by Ayann Johnson Bailey, executive assistant and office manager, who selects the artists and artworks for display. The current exhibit is the second for the Gallery, and Ayann anticipates having three shows per year, with each show featuring the work of several artists. Affiliate organization the Community Foundation for Prince George’s County is taking a similar approach as well, with a rotating exhibit that features the work of one Prince George’s artist at a time. Says Ayann, “Our main goal is to build recognition for the importance of the arts in improving the quality of life in our region, and bringing awareness of the power of the arts in contributing to community engagement. I’m so happy to connect emerging artists with an audience that they would otherwise not be exposed to. The experience has been rewarding for all those involved.”
Besides providing an opportunity to expose emerging artists to potential arts patrons who pass through the CFNCR offices, the Gallery for Good also makes the foundation’s office a much more vibrant, inviting workspace. Terri Freeman, CFNCR’s president and chair of WRAG’s board, says, “Gallery for Good has been an incredible ‘win-win-win’ for us. Emerging artists get to show their art. It gives the Community Foundation a reason to host an event for donors and partners to view the art, network, and purchase the art if they desire. And our staff have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful artwork on a daily basis.”
The current exhibit features local artists Bruce Campbell, Jay Durrah, Cheryl Edwards, J’Nell Jordan, and Yalonda McQuinn. The Community Foundation is hosting a special reception and open house for the exhibit on Wednesday, July 24. More information and registration is available here.
To learn more about the Gallery for Good, contact Ayann Johnson Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.