Dear Scottsdale Arts patrons, audiences, and supporters,
It was with a heavy heart that I decided last week to cancel upcoming performances and the 50th anniversary Scottsdale Arts Festival. While some may have felt that this decision was premature, I believe this week has proven that it was the responsible thing to do. The safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, patrons, and the community-at-large is paramount. We need to stand together and do what is necessary to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading.
Arts Festival brings together nearly 200 artists from the United States and abroad, traveling on a circuit, and each of them had roughly 50 pieces in their booths. Even a pared-down crowd of 10,000 patrons would have resulted in 100,000 potential touch points. Had only one person been infected, it would have been unforgivable.
With your safety and that of our community, staff, performers, and patrons in mind, Scottsdale Arts closed its offices and venues and opted to cancel or postpone all events though April 5, 2020. It is very likely that our shutdown may last longer, but we are evaluating the situation every day.
We are neither panicked nor deterred. We are deliberate in our decision making. I am proud of our staff, board, and volunteers, all of whom have shown remarkable resolve and dedication. We are quickly adapting to the new reality of working remotely with virtual meetings and online communication tools.
We ask that you be patient during this time. All of this is unprecedented, and all of us at Scottsdale Arts are doing our very best to keep up with the latest information. We will continue to monitor and look to federal, state, and local health authorities for direction on the remaining events in Scottsdale Arts’ 2019–20 season of presented artists, exhibitions, and performances across our many branches. For the latest and most complete news on Scottsdale Arts’ response to COVID-19, please visit us online at: https://scottsdalearts.org/notices.
We are part of a cultural ecosystem, comprising artists, community venues, large organizations, and legacy entities. This entire ecosystem lives in precarious balance in the best of times and is seriously threatened by the fallout from this pandemic. We are in the business of connecting people every day through arts experiences, and at the moment, we cannot safely do this. Please consider your continued support—even in a time like this—to your favorite local artists, small and large organizations, and nonprofits.
Scottsdale Arts will begin to provide you with remote and virtual arts experiences starting next week. It is in times like these when we need the arts the most to lighten the burden, glimpse the light on the horizon, and yes, sometimes as a refuge from our kids while we’re cooped up at home.
Please be safe, be well, love your families, hug your pets, and remember to breathe and enjoy the beauty of our world at this moment in time. I very much appreciate the privilege of serving this wonderful community. In a time like this, there’s no place I’d rather be. We will stand together, make it through this with empathy for others, and emerge stronger than before.
Dr. Gerd Wuestemann
President & CEO