Artfully done

January 26, 2012

The best case scenario is that the Havre de Grace Arts Commission Ball will follow the history of some civic events that suffer periodic downturns only to be rejuvenated. The original arts group showed a that little bit of hard work and ingenuity can go a long way. It's unlikely that slow ticket sales for the group's signature fundraiser will keep the volunteers from leading the city's arts scene into the future.

The Almighty helps those who help themselves, so opined Ben Franklin (not the Bible), and a good example of people helping themselves even as they answer a higher calling is the Havre de Grace Arts Commission.

Established more than two decades ago with a goal of bringing to the city a cultural event a month, the group initially met with a good deal of success simply by inviting performers like military bands to entertain in Tydings Park.

When they concluded for the price of a few hundred dollars (sometimes more) it would be possible to widen the range of events to include things like one-person-shows, the idea of an arts ball was devised. Longtime event organizer Pat Fair recounts the origins of the ball elsewhere on this page.

The bottom line, though, is that the ball became an annual event and as much a part of the local arts scene as the events staged by the Arts Commission (and the others it helped promote), ranging from performances of the works of Shakespeare to a myriad of other events in the city's parks. Those that required funding, well that money mostly came from the arts ball.

As it turned out, while the arts often rely on grants from foundations and governments, all of which is perfectly legitimate, it is also possible for a rather thriving arts scene to largely sustain itself.

Unfortunately, this year the arts ball ended up being canceled. Time will tell whether it's the victim of the bad economy that has hurt so many, or rather the victim of supporters who believe this particular fundraiser has served its usefulness and it's time to try something else. The impact on the arts scene in Havre de Grace probably will be affected in the short term.

The best case scenario is that it will follow the history of some civic events that suffer periodic downturns only to be rejuvenated. The original arts group showed a that little bit of hard work and ingenuity can go a long way. It's unlikely that slow ticket sales for the group's signature fundraiser will keep the volunteers from leading the city's arts scene into the future.

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