March 18, 2021
Hubbard Hall is open and offering classes and events in a reduced capacity and with strict safety protocols.
The Hubbard Hall Healing Initiative
Our community is in need of healing. At the same time, our organizational capacity is severely diminished. Staffing has been cut to the core. Our budget is less than 50% of what it was before the pandemic. Attendance for live events will be limited for the foreseeable future, as will attendance for our classes. But our mission – cultivating, sustaining and promoting the cultural life of our rural community – is more important than ever. How can we serve our community’s needs with such diminished capacity?
We must realize that this crisis is also an opportunity. An opportunity to refocus our work and serve our community better.
The Healing Initiative will focus our work towards healing our community on multiple levels with many avenues of engagement. We will provide arts-based healing experiences on a smaller scale, including live performances with smaller audiences, workshops and classes with fewer participants, and even one-on-one and online offerings aimed at healing. Whenever possible and suitable, we will offer free offerings to eliminate any economic barrier. Social Justice will become a larger focus of our work, with socio-economic, identity, racial, and aging issues in our community being served more directly and openly. We will engage our community in an online conversation about the arts and social justice, while aiming our work at seeking and soliciting opportunities for increased understanding and healing through art and community. We will revitalize Hubbard Hall as a Community Commons, where multiple points of view can be heard, recognized, and considered, similar to how we functioned under the original leadership of Mary Hubbard from 1884-1927.
These efforts will be led by the executive & artistic director, the artistic & administrative associate, and a cadre of volunteers interested in helping serve this work and heal our community together. Our efforts will be flexible, based on interests and capacity, and will grow in response to needs, interests, and our collective learning.
We will continue our beloved on campus classes, while implementing online and live events guided by this mandate for healing and within our reduced capacity. Likely, this will result in a smaller scale of producing and presenting until the larger arts ecosystem and economy can recover, but with an increase in singular workshops, workshop series aimed at community development, and online activity. Part of this online activity may also include performance, workshop, and speaker offerings from around the world, curated by Hubbard Hall for our local audiences.
A few assumptions based on our pandemic experience and recent national surveys:
- Arts organizations who serve their communities directly and authentically are the most likely to succeed in the wake of COVID-19. This perhaps obvious fact has been confirmed by two national surveys conducted by The Wallace Foundation and the NYC-based research firm La Placa Cohen.
- It will likely take years for audiences to fully return to pre-COVID size events, in part due to real or perceived barriers in cost, travel, and safety.
- Digital content is here to stay. Audiences expect arts organizations to continue to develop and offer excellent digital and online offerings. Digital content has proven to be reaching more diverse audiences, at least racially and socio-economically.
- Audiences expect arts organizations to actively support social justice issues. Shared values are more important than ever. Demonstrating those values through programming and activities is critical.
We intend for all of this activity to heal and grow the sinews of our community, while increasing our ability to serve within this new reality.
Payments and Registrations
Meetings and Hall Visits
We are also only meeting with vendors and clients BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need to meet with us.
We are planning our spring programs and performances to begin on April 12, to allow us to open doors and windows in the warmer weather. Spring classes are open for registration.
We are again curtailing the number of weeks of programs offered, as well the number of students to be included AND the prices of our programs to suit the moment we find ourselves in. We are offering classes in dance, taekwondo, visual arts and more. Per NY State Guidelines, performances this spring and summer will be for smaller audiences (40 people maximum indoors and 100 outdoors) and all activities will include the implementation of our regular safety protocols. Click here to learn more and register.
New Safety Protocols
We are implementing new safety protocols in all of our programs. You can read these detailed protocols by clicking here.
Hubbard Hall Featured in the Times Union
On May 19, the Albany Times Union featured Hubbard Hall and our important role in this moment. Click here to read Amy Biancolli’s great article about the enduring nature of art, community, and Hubbard Hall here in Cambridge.
Serving You and Staying Relevant
While we have not been able to re-open to our usual capacity, we’ve been working hard to keep you engaged through the following activities:
- Ongoing live performances and classes. Classes are now registering for spring and summer programs and performances will be announced soon. The launch of The Hub, Hubbard Hall’s online activity program, which you can check out by clicking here or going to thedavidsnider.com.
- Filling our community with art wherever we can.
- Op-Eds in the Times Union, Bennington Banner and Berkshire Eagle, which you can read on the Media page of thedavidsnider.com.
How is Hubbard Hall doing?
I’m asked this continually by caring community members. Part of this question contains another question: how are we doing financially? We’ve gained help from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the SBA Disaster Relief. We hope to soon gain support from the second round of the PPP and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has been funded again by NY State, allowing NYSCA to continue to provide us with some vital funding for our General Operating and Theatre expenses. We’ve also received amazing support from individual donors throughout our community. We are deeply grateful.
Now we are in our new budget reality, with approximately 45% cuts to our budget, including staffing. Public schools, including CCS, are starting to come back with extracurricular activities. We hope to restore the CCS Drama Club here soon. Others have cancelled partnerships with us because of their own budget shortfalls. We expect attendance and donations to be down for the next two years. We expect funds to be less and less available, at the state, local, and federal levels. We expect a new reality to settle in. So we do desperately need your help in order to continue to serve the students, artists, and audiences who have come to rely on us. As we have told our local schools, we will not abandon our students.
We cannot allow this pandemic to remove the arts from their lives – or from anyone’s lives. We will find new ways to make art and community happen. In some ways, we are very lucky. We are a tiny organization by comparison to some and we can work nimbly – and cheaply – when need be. But we do need a certain amount of core support, in order to ensure the facilities, staff, and programming don’t degrade entirely. We hope we can rely on you to help. We promise you can rely on us.
Help Us Survive COVID-19
In these challenging times, we’re working hard every day to save Hubbard Hall, so we can continue to serve you, your children, and families in 2021 and beyond! Over the last year we’ve had to cancel or postpone events, suspend classes, and slash staff. Please consider helping us by mailing us a check to: Hubbard Hall, 25 East Main St. Cambridge, NY 12816 or clicking here to donate online.
We know money is tight for everyone right now, so we’d deeply appreciate any help you can provide.
As always, please email me with any suggestions, questions or inspirations.
We will rise together!
David Andrew Snider
Executive & Artistic Director
518-677-2495, ext. 313