“2020 has been a difficult year, but it’s given us all time to reflect and to look back at what is important to us,” said Mary Callis, executive director. “The arts is one of those things that is very important to us, and we’ve missed so much, so we’ve reimagined how we’re going to experience the arts.”
The 2021 season will open with A “Sofa Series” of virtual concerts: Jan. 23, National Players’ “As You Like It;” Feb. 7, Barron Ryan performance Where Classical Meets Cool; and Feb. 28, Charlotte Blake Alston, African American Storyteller.
The Maryland Symphony Series will be available at a 30% discount savings to the GLAF audience at watch.marylandsymphony.org.
Live performances are tentatively being planned at Wisp Resort: June: West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; July: Pittsburgh Symphony Soloists; and August: Bettman and Halpin.
The Clipper City Brass Quintet is planned for Nov. 13 at Garrett College.
Andrew Harvey, board chairman, was the host for the meeting.
“You will see a common theme throughout everything that we’re talking about tonight, and that is ‘thankful,’” he said. “Because truly this year, from everything that we have come through and are currently going through, from the bottom of our hearts, we are thankful for a lot of things.”
He noted that board members are excited for the partnerships that are in place to ensure a bright future.
Harvey noted appreciation for federal and state money that was allocated and for season sponsors and community donors.
He also mentioned GLAF business sponsors, which include First Energy Foundation, Garrett County Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett College, Community Trust Foundation, Wisp Resort and Maryland Humanities.
Besides Harvey, GLAF board members include Sue Arnson, vice chair; Fred Fox, treasurer; Amy Bortz, secretary; John Pucciano, special adviser; Sean Beachy; Betty Ellington; Sheila McCracken; Judi Merriman; Luanne Ruddell; Fred Sharer; Suzie Sincell; Mary Helen Spear and Barry Winberg.
Bortz spoke of how GLAF worked throughout the pandemic to share ways to enjoy performances from the comfort of home. These included the Kennedy Center, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Maryland Humanities Chautauqua.
“We hope you’ve been able to tune in and attend a few of these events, and know that we will continue to bring you performing arts virtually,” she said.
Bortz also noted that the GLAF board partnered with the HART board this year to bring the Art and Wine Festival alive in a year when getting thousands of people together just was not possible.
About 200 tickets were sold for a chance to win a weekend that included lodging, a meal at a local restaurant and the opportunity to enjoy one of many Garrett County activities, including skiing, boating and golf.
“It was a very successful fundraising event for both organizations,” Bortz said.
Fox spoke of the founding members of GLAF, including his mother, Jane Fox.
“They came together at a time when there was no structure or organization around the arts in the Garrett County community,” he said. “They came together and provided a foundation for arts in the community. We are deeply appreciative of their efforts and their foresight in bringing together arts in the community.”
Arnson presented information about an upcoming online auction, with all proceeds going to GLAF. Five artists will be featured over the next four or five months at glaf.betterworld.org
“I’m really excited about the fact that GLAF is going to do a cooperative venture with the artists of the community,” Arnson said. “I think it’s a real positive step forward in partnering with these people.”
Plans were also noted for performances for school students, and a business portion of the meeting was also held.
Callis expressed appreciation for the Garrett County commissioners and others.
“We are so thankful to be in a county where our elected officials appreciate and support the arts,” she said. “I honestly don’t know how they could do more for us.”