As a lifetime collector of quotes, I recently came across one by famed acting coach and actress Stella Adler: “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” 

I was struck by Adler’s ability to convey so perfectly what it’s meant to be part of an arts nonprofit organization in these trying times. I thought back to February 16, 2020, when the curtains closed on Ballet San Antonio’s final performance of Edwaard Liang’s Romeo & Juliet and I was reminded that as the dancers took their final vows, few of us were aware that a global virus was spreading with the potential to turn us all into Montagues and Capulets.

 I considered all that has transpired since then in the realms of politics, economics and health. Could Stella Adler be right? Could the return of live art experiences bring us back to ourselves again?

Early in the pandemic, arts organizations across the world offered digital productions as a band-aid for the loss of live programming. While these efforts are worthy of much praise and have even opened up new opportunities for reaching underserved audiences, the loss of traditional live performances has been deeply felt. Ballet San Antonio’s Artistic Director, Sofiane Sylve, summed it up succinctly: “While we have relied on digital platforms to continue our work and careers, nothing replaces the space and freedom of the stage experienced by a live audience.” 

Indeed, countless articles and news reports have underscored our collective desire to experience art again in the flesh and it appears that despite our recent Montague/Capulet tendencies, we actually still want to connect over shared experiences.

The arts showcase and fundraising collaboration, A Celebration of SA heARTS, between The San Antonio Museum of Art, Ballet San Antonio, The Public Theater of San Antonio, San Antonio Chamber Choir and Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, began with a belief born of conviction that the arts foster the connections between people and communities. Support for the endeavor from organizations such as the San Antonio Area Foundation places an exclamation point at the end of that statement. Together, we see the need for community healing and are ready to begin the work through programs designed to engage the general public, students, the special needs community, and more. We hope you’ll join us.

The San Antonio Area Foundation is able to help sustain our community’s arts community through the generous support of donors and philanthropists who empower our grantmaking efforts. Arts funding is part of one our four principal grantmaking impact areas, Cultural Vibrancy. Go here to learn more about these impact areas.

Amy Wilson has served as Ballet San Antonio’s Accounting Manager for 5 years.