A letter from RAAC’s President
As we enter 2016 and get ready to launch our annual membership campaign in February, I want to update you on RAAC—our own State of the Union, or State of the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community. From a bottom-line perspective, we’re solid. We have funds in the bank to cover unforeseen contingencies, to make modest capital investments where needed, and to replenish our Mitchell Arts Fund through which we award grants to local artists and organizations.
Over the past two years, our membership has grown by over 33% and total contributions have increased by over 85%! Our programs and events are hitting a responsive chord across the community. Our financial health benefits from RAAC being an all-volunteer organization, from a talented Board and amazing volunteers, tremendous audience attendance, and the strong backing of friends and neighbors who believe in our mission— Inspire Art, Build Community.
In 2015, we inaugurated our first annual Film Festival to the delight of the community. Enthusiasm is already building for our second film festival this April. The annual Art Tour entered its 11th year and attracted nearly a thousand visitors to Rappahannock. Our 1st Friday at the Movies continued to show first-run films; and we installed a new screen and we’re preparing to replace our sound system—all over 25 years old—for your viewing and listening pleasure. 2nd Friday at the Library seems to have morphed into our own version of Ted Talks. Overflowing crowds are listening and questioning local and national experts on a host of topics.
Our Community Theatre continues to raise the quality and range of its dramatic offerings, which have become so popular that we’ve had to add extra performances. We also invested in new drapery for our theater to darken the space for matinees and are steadily renovating the basement for much needed storage. RAAC’s Mitchell Arts Fund awarded $32,000 in grants in 2015, all generated from net proceeds from programs and generous contributions. Grants ranged from helping individual artists, to enabling organizations bring arts programs to children, to supporting public performances.
In 2015, we completely revamped our website—which you are on at this moment. Please explore because we think it’s better looking and easier to navigate. You’ll find helpful information about upcoming programs, back issues of our newsletter, and links to other Rappahannock resources. You can also read about our board members, submit questions, volunteer, donate to RAAC, and reserve tickets to our performances online. We also refreshed our logo and just finished redesigning the RAAC brochure, which you’ll see along with our membership letter arriving soon. Our monthly newsletter started over two years ago and continues to evolve, becoming a go-to place for what’s happening in the local arts scene. All in all, I feel that RAAC is an energetic and dynamic organization that continues to grow and find new ways to inspire the arts and build community. In 2015 we began collaborating with other local organizations to find community synergies—both directly and indirectly through RAAC’s Mitchell Arts Fund. We continue to attract dedicated and talented volunteers which is one of our three pillars. The second is the group of artists and participants who make our programs happen. And our third pillar is the base of supporters who contribute to RAAC so generously.
– Matthew Black