Dance, music, film, opera, theater—the arts are as central to New York City as Central Park. Maybe more so, because on any given day you can walk around the corner in any neighborhood and find art, or hear a street musician.
Then, of course, there are all of the official arts organizations.
It is a great privilege, and a true pleasure, to help the arts in our city with support from The Charatan/Holm Foundation. I’m especially proud of our relationship with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which is practically one-stop-shopping for the performing arts.
As a member of Lincoln Center’s Women’s Leadership Council, a volunteer position, I (along with my sister committee members) am charged with raising unrestricted dollars for the arts organizations and educational institutions at Lincoln Center.
Every dollar raised goes to something glorious— dance, music, theater— all the arts New Yorkers love.
One of the oldest groups with a home at Lincoln Center is, of course, The Metropolitan Opera (known by New Yorkers and opera buffs as “The Met”) which was originally founded in the 1880s.
While opera may not be everyone’s “go to” theatrical experience, I find it exciting to be part of something that’s established, respected, and features such amazing performers as Renée Fleming.
Fleming is an example of the extraordinary level of the Lincoln Center associated artists themselves, united in their desire to share their gifts with the world. This past April she performed with one of the newest organizations to join Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center. Accompanied by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which was founded by trumpet player, American original and ambassador of all-things-jazz, Wynton Marsalis, Fleming honored Ella Fitzgerald by singing one of her iconic songs.
JALC demonstrates the ways in which Lincoln Center reaches out. The Jazz organization has programs for youth and youth orchestras, they offer free live-streams of many of their concerts, and the JALC Orchestra tours both nationally and internationally.
When young people fall in love with an art, and begin to study, it’s so important to nourish that gift. Many of the groups at Lincoln Center offer free, or inexpensive, educational programs and performances for children. But two organizations, Julliard and The School of American Ballet, go much further.
Since 1905, The Juilliard School has been a world leader in performing-arts education. Its mission is “to provide the highest caliber of arts education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world, so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens.”
Our foundation’s mission is completely in line with the mission of Juilliard. We, too, want to help people reach their full potential which is why we are so deliberate in our financial decisions.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about Lincoln Center without mentioning the New York Philharmonic (officially the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York.) It, too, was founded in the 1800s and is considered to be one of the top symphonic orchestras in the country. Despite their prestige, they offer programs that are engaging and fun. This year there’s a series of four concerts geared specifically towards children ages 6 to 12. There’s also a “film concert” available— the orchestra plays movie soundtracks with all the cinematic glory and drama possible.
In total, there are about a dozen organizations at Lincoln Center all under one umbrella. The organization truly offers something for everyone, and at every price point, including free!
The unrestricted nature of the funds raised by The Women’s Leadership Council (and the support The Charatan/Holm Foundation gives) permits the organizations to use the money to maximum effect—such as engaging in the creative educational programming I’ve described as well as presenting exciting new productions, and developing essential, free, performances.
Author Susan Vreeland once said, “Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.”
At The Charatan/Holm Foundation, we believe that it’s possible to have a vibrant, loving, community here in New York and beyond. By supporting the arts we hope to give people a chance to enjoy, engage, connect and build that community.