COVID-19 Update – Sept. 2020

Posted on: Sep 02

Dear Art Enables Friends and Supporters,

As a member of the Art Enables family, we are so grateful that you have rallied to our side during these uncertain times. It is hard to believe it has been six months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, and I’m writing today to provide an update on our artists, the studio and gallery, and our organization and to ask for your help. We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Where We Are Now

Our Artists and Studio: Like many, our artists have been largely stuck at home during this pandemic and the loss of time in the studio continues to be intensely difficult. To ensure ongoing artistic support, we quickly pivoted in mid-March to a virtual support model, which includes:

  • ● regularly sending artists individualized kits of art materials and supplies,
  • ● providing weekly prompts to inspire new work,
  • ● hosting weekly 1:1 calls with each artist,
  • ● hosting weekly “Artist Forum” Zoom sessions to bring together staff and artists, and
  • ● developing exciting new online exhibitions to support and promote our artists’ work.

While the virtual support has been deeply important to our artists, it is also clear there is no substitute for being in the studio. The studio is a professional and personal lifeline for our 40 resident artists, especially those without an appropriate home studio environment.

“I miss Art Enables so much. It gives me comfort," resident artist Vanessa Monroe recently told us. Please donate here to help us continue to provide virtual services.

Our Financial Health: Closing our studio has severely impacted our funding. Revenue derived from our partnership with the DC Department of Disability Services (DDS), which makes up about half of Art Enables’ total annual revenue, has declined dramatically by nearly 95%. This is threatening our financial stability and jeopardizes our ability to continue the remote services we are providing to our artists. We are working aggressively to offset these revenue losses through new philanthropic, public, and private partnerships, but this effort will take time.

What the Future Holds

There are no easy answers for navigating the next 6-12 months. We do know that we remain absolutely committed to being here for our artists, for you, our supporters, and for the public.

Our number one priority is the health, safety, and wellness of our artists, staff, and visiting public. We plan to continue to offer our full slate of virtual services, and with guidance and input from DDS, the DC Health Department, our Board, staff, and artists, we hope to be able to re-open the studio and gallery, in a limited capacity, to artists and to the general public in the late September or October timeframe.

Next year, we will mark our 20th anniversary. In order to ensure that Art Enables remains a professional home for our artists for another 20 years, we need your help to navigate the next 6-12 months. If you are able, please consider making a gift today at, perhaps $100 or $50 or even $25. If you would like to spread out your payments, you can do so by becoming a monthly Red Dot Donor. See all our ways to give here. Your contribution will help us continue to support our artists who need us now more than ever.

Click here to view a video message from Shawn Payne on the importance of your support.

Thank you again for your support, your belief, and your action.

Tony Brunswick
Executive Director