Gearing Up to Reopen

by Marianne Lods, Executive Director

With recent announcements made by Governor Phil Murphy regarding upcoming business openings, the Glasstown Arts District is making plans to put the spotlight to a positive use on our small business community. Our community has been very vigilant in staying home and observing all the protocols to keep the number of COVID-19 cases as low as possible. Business owners have done their best to deliver their product while staying within the guidelines.

We miss all of you! Beginning on June 15, non-essential retail can begin inviting customers into their shops and galleries. Restaurants may start with outdoor dining (if possible) and continue takeout and delivery. On June 22, salons and barbers may begin service (I need a haircut)! Please keep in mind that social distancing and face masks are mandatory in all situations.

The Arts District office, located inside the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts, 22 N. High Street, will be reopening on June 29 at 9 a.m. We will be planning several special art and retail events over the coming months with our prime focus on “Shop Small.” The national campaign for Small Business Saturday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We will celebrate that along with Small Business specials and sidewalk events starting in July.

None of our efforts will succeed without you! People who have been able to work, at home or in essential workplaces, will have a great desire to begin seeking normal activities. We encourage you to prioritize your spending in our local restaurants, galleries, Levoy Theatre, salons and barbershops rather than large malls and shopping centers. Downtown doesn’t offer every product and service you may want or need, but if they do, please help them. Spending money with independent businesses results in a far greater economic boon than national retailers.

We’re planning to have our monthly Farm Market on the fourth Saturday of June, July, August and September at the Village on High, 501 N. High Street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On July 13, we will begin our 21st summer art camp—Art Creates Excellence—for three weeks. We will accept about 50 percent of the normal number of youth. There will be only two age groups this year—10 to 12 years and 13 to 18 years. You must contact me by e-mail: marianne@glasstownartsdistrict.com or by phone at 856-293-0556. We will observe and operate the camp under strict guidelines to keep everyone safe.

Our town and county are very fortunate to have terrific organizations that offer residents and visitors meaningful and fun places to spend leisure time. Because of COVID-19, New Jersey has been losing millions, probably billions, of dollars in tax revenues. Our state will likely undergo extreme budget cuts. This affects venues, such as:

• The Levoy Theatre

• Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts

• Glasstown Arts District

• WheatonArts

• Millville Army Airfield Museum

Some or all of these organizations get funding from NJ State Council on the Arts. That budget is derived from Hotel/Motel taxes. Other funds come from State Historical Commission and NJ Travel and Tourism. We don’t have a crystal ball, but where will the funds originate?

As the next few months unfold, most non-profits will be fundraising, wtih live or online virtual events depending on the virus. If you’re able to buy from or donate to any of them, please be as generous as you can. We will need the assistance to stay viable and thrive in our wonderful communities.

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