Update and Resources for Artists During These Times

April 15, 2020

Dear Friends,

We’re sending this newsletter to find out how you are doing and connect you to ways to help and be helped during this difficult and sobering time. Email nancy@inspero.org with any needs you have or resources we can pass onto our creative community. We've listed local and national resources below to help artists and others in need during this crisis.

We also want to share a few photos of past events and let you know we are prayerfully planning for our Fall events. This quarantined time has emphasized how much we need community.

Our Pastor-Artist Dinner in April, Bridge Builders in May, and Magic City Storytellers in June are on hold and we will let you know their status.

We are excited to be able to offer you livestream music from local songwriters through our Writers Kiln.

The Writer's Kiln is a place for songwriters to test, mold, and refine their songs. While we are unable to host live events at this time, we still want to provide songwriters the opportunity to share their music. Be on the lookout for a Facebook live-stream concert on Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. featuring Wilder Adkins, Janet Simpson-Templin, and Noel Johnson. Thanks to Ben Donohue, Writer's Kiln coordinator. You can find information at @thewriterskiln on Instagram and The Writer's Kiln on Facebook.

The Writer's Kiln.png

Photo of 2020 Events Before COVID

InSpero Vision Retreat
(Rev. Dave Burden showing us the need for community through a Mobius strip)

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Lent Retreat
(Led by Charlotte Donlon at the beautiful Bluff Park home of artist  Kerry Leasure)

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photo by Erin Nolen

Sandra McCracken House Show
(Honoring our donors and supporters at the beautiful home of landscape designer Kelly Hulsey with a beautiful charcuterie spread by Gild and Garnish)

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photos by Emily Kicklighter

Songwriters Workshop and Concert with Andy Gullahorn and Ben Shive
(A day retreat for storytellers followed by an evening concert)

photo by Emily Kicklighter
photo by Charity Rachelle
photo by Charity Rachelle

Resources for Artists during the COVID-19 Crisis

Local Resources

If you would like to donate to artist care during this time click here and designate “COVID-19 Relief” in the note section and InSpero will use 100% of these funds to help Birmingham area artists in need.

CareHealth
Our friends at Urban Avenues have found a win-win way of supporting local restaurants and encouraging our health care workers through really good food. Click here to learn more and donate.

Mental Health
Lisa Donohue has put together mental health resources for our city and also is leading free online groups in anxiety/stress management. For this list and information on these groups, contact Lisa Donohue at ldonohue@ompc.org. For any who want a structured spiritual retreat in their enforced physical retreat you can order her book Soul Rest.

National Resources

Thanks to ArtHouse Dallas for pointing us to many of these resources.

ARTIST RELIEF: Support for artists during the COVID-19 crisis, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to create an emergency initiative to offer financial and informational resources to artists across the United States.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS: Resources for artists and arts organizations.

CREATIVE CAPITAL: List of resources for artists working in all disciplines, as well as arts philanthropists and arts professionals.

I CARE IF YOU LISTEN: In leu of their regular weekly event updates “I Care if You Listen” has compiled a round-up of emergency funding sources and additional resources for artists.

AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS: COVID-19 resource and response center updated daily with the latest news and resources regarding the arts and culture field.

KICKSTARTER RESOURCE CENTER: Emergency grants, freelance resources, legal aid, and more.

COVID-19 & FREELANCE ARTISTS: Specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. This includes, but is not limited to, actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, and photographers.

What is Essential?

by Nancy Carroll

One of the words of the 2020 pandemic for me will be  “essential.” We can only leave our houses for the essentials. Only essential workers can work outside the home. As someone categorized as  “non-essential,” it made me think of what and who is essential. For me, what’s essential is:
Beauty (sidewalk art springing up, the images of Italians serenading to each other through windows, people getting outside and discovering the miracle of Spring)
Hope InSpero means God-breathed hope. Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic says “The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It’s enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren’t worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon.”  We believe beauty gives us hints that there is more. Even if right now it feels like a we're living in a "knothole."
Kindness  The smallest acts (and there have been so many) have undone me in the past few weeks.
Community Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors. In isolation, in a time without touch, we realize our need for community.
Meaning  Our hearts search for meaning and redemption during these hard and fearful times.  
For InSpero these things--beauty, hope, community, kindness, meaning--are essential to our mission of cultivating and celebrating the creative spirit in Birmingham.

Who is Essential?  

As we grieve the staggering numbers of deaths around the world and in our own city, every single person is essential. Every person matters.
As we fight this invisible enemy (many of us by sitting at home), it’s the creative community who often give us hope through the way they see the world, the way they’re willing to risk by saying “Hey look at this!” The ones who can get beyond your head to activate your heart (a shout-out to all pastors who are artists of truth).  
Many of our artists are hurting. Chefs trying to keep their staff fed as well as employed. Musicians and performers seeing their calendars and bank accounts cleared. Commissions on hold. And yet, the outflow of beauty and connection continues. The downloads of symphony performances and Broadway plays are feeding people’s souls. Gentle humor and virtual community are sustaining us like John Krazinski’s Some Good News. And this video from filmmakers around the world.
Beauty is not just a distraction, It’s like an encoded message sent to us in this war reminding us all shall be well.
Please continue to support InSpero in this hard time as we seek to care for our creative community and help them give good gifts to our city. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.
Please contact Nancy at nancy@inspero.org with questions, needs, or resources we can share with our creative community.