âThe purpose of art is to wash away the dust of everyday life from our soulsâ, according to Pablo Picasso.
Art, in its many forms, can move and inspire us at all stages of life. It captures emotion, passion and energy; its focus can range from recreational to therapeutic, and it requires not only imagination and skill on the part of the creator, but also an appreciation for beauty on the part of its devotees.
In Washington County, we are fortunate to have access to various opportunities to participate and benefit from art. And at the Washington County Community Foundation, we are grateful to our many donors who have provided us with the financial resources necessary to support an array of wonderful local arts programs.
Music is recognized as one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies and, unsurprisingly, it is an area of ââparticular interest to WCCF donors. For example, the Zoog Family Music Fund, the DiSalle Music Fund, and the Kenneth & Mary Baker Charitable Fund all support the appreciation of music due to family ties.
Patron of the arts Roy Zoog remarked, âMy late wife and her sister were both violinistsâ¦ and from the time my son could hold a drumstick in his hand, he was a drummer. Jon Zoog played in the Peters Township drum line as a teenager, and today he is a professional musician with a successful company, Dallas Drum. His instruments are revered by some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Likewise, the DiSalle family is passionate about the Washington Symphonic Orchestra, a charity that has been committed to providing accessible and quality musical performances for decades. A musician himself, John DiSalle plays both saxophone and clarinet, performing regularly in local venues.
Kenneth Baker and his son, Dan, are music lovers and active volunteers of the Washington Jazz Society. Although he is familiar with jazz, Dan is a talented local guitarist who has taught many students the basics of various styles and genres.
A few years ago, a capacity building grant of $ 50,000 was awarded to the Washington Jazz Society to implement its AMP (Afterschool Music Program) for disadvantaged youth as well as an instrument retraining program. AMP has served students from across the county in districts such as Bentworth, Bethlehem-Center, Canon-McMillan, Trinity, and Washington.
In Charleroi, the Mon Valley Academy for the Arts offers music lessons, as well as other artistic and cultural programs, for students of all ages. Last year, the foundation supported the purchase of multimedia equipment for its junior performing group Twin Coaches with an award from the Kenneth & Mary Baker Charitable Fund.
Captivating theatrical performances are also available throughout the county through charities such as the Washington Community Theater, the Old Schoolhouse Players, and the Little Lake Theater. Each offers the opportunity for community members to enjoy a show or even be part of it.
As a family that has always cherished time spent together watching and performing in different productions, the Hitchons wanted to honor their collective love of art and music through a WCCF fund. As a result, the Lawrence & Marjorie Hitchon Fund was designed to support music and theater programs in Washington County. He will soon be making his first distribution.
Other WCCF funds focus on the importance of arts education. The Miss Judy Hopson Fund was established to celebrate the legacy of this beloved educator with unlimited energy through grants to arts programs that serve youth. Miss Judy believed that all art forms have the power to improve the lives of children, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
And of course, the WCCF is also home to the Arts Fund, which has awarded a total of $ 100,000 to local arts and culture programs. Its parameters are quite broad. Among the fund’s prizes is a $ 10,000 grant to the LeMoyne Community Center, which allowed students to create beautiful quilts based on their lessons on the Underground Railroad. As one of WCCF’s five mutual funds, the Arts Fund offers anyone the opportunity to help support the rich and vibrant culture of Washington County.
If your soul needs a little dust, explore some of the offerings from our local art community. Or, you could support their good work with your financial donation. Arts organizations have been seriously affected by the pandemic, and it is only thanks to the generosity of patrons that they will be able to ensure that the âshow will continueâ.