The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center will be participating in Long Beach Gives on Thursday, Sept. 24, a citywide event that supports non-profit organizations.
Long Beach Gives is a 24-hour online fundraiser that allows anyone to donate to different Long Beach non-profits involved. This is the second annual event but the Carpenter Center’s first year participating with a goal to fundraise $50,000.
Olivia Sather, the Carpenter Center’s director of marketing, explained that the Carpenter Center applied to be a part of the event for more than just fundraising.
“We also wanted to raise awareness for our educational program which is called Arts for Life,” Sather said.
Arts for Life at the Carpenter Center is a program that connects artists to Long Beach elementary school students, master classes for Long Beach State students and present free community-wide events.
Due to the coronavirus, many of the opportunities the Arts for Life program once provided are now on hold until the Carpenter Center can fully adapt to a virtual world, something that has proven to be challenging for many performing arts programs and departments.
“It’s hard because everything is online this year and we are working in a virtual format,” Sather said. “But it’s also important for us to show everyone what our programs used to be and what we are fundraising for, to adapt them to this virtual world.”
Sather continued on by explaining how their program is still in the planning stages of how to connect with Long Beach State students and Long Beach elementary school students virtually.
But, their community events were a bit easier to adapt to and make virtual, swapping concerts for things such as their Shakespeare aloud readings via Zoom.
Since that area of the Arts for Life program adapted so quickly, Sather has seen how people are utilizing this program to connect with the arts anywhere and everywhere.
“Since we have gone virtual with that program [Shakespeare aloud and community connections] we have people joining from all over the world,” Sather said. “It’s really putting Long Beach on the map so we need to be able to continue to support that.”
Despite some of the challenges the Carpenter Center may be facing, Sather sees the Long Beach Gives event as not only a means to raise money but to raise awareness of the free programs they offer to the community.
“We understand that this is a difficult time and sometimes financially giving isn’t really an option,” Sather said. “But we’ve found that our community is our best advocates and we want people to share what they are doing with their friends.”