Rumor Has It
Eat for Art’s Sake
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
They say that still waters run deep and nowhere is that more true right now than for Bellingham’s arts organizations.
Many of them appear quiet on the surface, with their performance spaces, stages and galleries closed to the public, but nearly all of them are working hard behind the scenes to keep things up, running and ready for when they can reopen and begin to entertain and enrich our lives once again.
One of the organizations that has been quiet in the sense that they haven’t been able to host monthly art walks, throw shows and engage in the activities that normally draw people into their space is Make.Shift. However, they’ve been up to all kinds of cool things.
Probably the biggest development—and the one that fills me with no end of joy and excitement—is the hiring of Jessyca Murphy as Make.Shift executive director. Murphy is no stranger to the nonprofit—before becoming the executive director she was the gallery director and prior to that she was a Make.Shift artist. Her institutional knowledge runs deep and she brings a wealth of nonprofit experience from time spent with other organizations. As well, Murphy has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion and an equally strong belief in using her role to amplify those voices that can often go unheard.
Murphy was also the person who sparked the idea for the Bellingham Arts Community Relief Fund after a group of activists and community organizers in Seattle started a similar and very successful funding vehicle called the Seattle Artist Relief Fund. The idea behind the funds is that, by and large, artists and creators are among the least likely to be eligible for available forms of pandemic financial assistance, but the most likely to not have a personal stash of emergency funds from which to draw.
Make.Shift’s fund was made reality by former Executive Director Katie Gray, and the first $3,000 raised was used to offset the nonprofit’s immediate losses from the statewide venue shutdown last spring. Since then, the Bellingham Arts Community Relief Fund has raised a little more than $1,200 in additional money, with an ultimate goal of $10,000, which will then be paid out in grants to artists, musicians and makers who apply for financial relief.
To help them hit that goal, the bighearted folks at Homeskillet will be selling takeout dinners 4pm-7pm on Fri., Feb. 12, with all of the proceeds going toward the fund. It goes without saying that the food will be delicious and you’ll probably walk away with more of it than you can eat in a week because that’s how Homeskillet does things. Being a patron of the arts never tasted so good.