Funding cuts hurting fine arts entities in High Point

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Fine arts entities in High Point are taking a major blow. City leaders slashed funding for the High Point Arts Council next year. This could mean no plays, ballets, live concerts or performances in High Point.  

“Everyone anticipated cutbacks but we didn’t anticipate elimination,” said Debbie Lumpkins, executive director of the art council.

Lumpkins said most of their budget is gone. The High Point Arts Council lost $90,000 in COVID-19 budget cuts, leaving the organization almost $40,000 in the hole. 

“We’re having to suspend all of the things that we do that are community outreach, like Art Splash for next summer, the day in the park festival, community arts project grants,” Lumpkins said.

These programs give you free access to the arts. 

“My concern is if we’re not able to restore this funding and we go only to events that are in our theater, only to events that are ticketed and all of a sudden because you have to monetize it. I’m just worried about the people who don’t have access to that,” Lumpkins said.

The lack of funding also affects the local High Point Community Theater that volunteers run. Now there is a struggle to find ways to financially support their shows. 

“In a time where we have to be really creative anyway with our programming, we can’t afford to take any risks,” said Courtney Lowe, of the High Point Community Theater.

Most of the shows this year have been canceled except for the annual play, a Christmas Carol. 

“We’re trying really hard to find ways to still bring that magic that this holiday season,” Lowe said.

She said they’ve held online workshops for donations and community members have started fundraising efforts to help. 

Lumpkins said the High Point Arts Council is still hosting online performances for this year’s Art Splash Summer, but other events are on hold for now.

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