Why I am a Donor at BAYarts by Andi Richards

BAYarts came into my life on a cold snowy January day in 2014. One could say it was serendipity that brought us together but I like to think it was more than that.

In the early winter of 2014, I was considering making a move back to Ohio. I was driving around looking at neighborhoods to consider and got lost in a snowstorm. Looking for the lake, I drove down Porter Creek Rd. terrified because the road was so slippery. At the top of the road rise I saw some lights twinkling inside an old house. As I drove down the snow-covered parking lot, I saw bright green painted Victorian house tucked in the trees. The house really stuck out at me because at the time I was living in S. Florida where there were bright colored houses everywhere but not here in snowy Ohio. I remember saying, I know snowstorm raging and I am lost but I have to find out what this place is. When I walked into the Huntington House the person behind the desk was so warm and inviting. She explained that BAYarts was an art school that had programming for all ages.

I spent some time poking around that day. I saw handmade items in the gift shop and beautiful art works hanging in the Sullivan gallery. I was hooked instantly. As I was leaving, I mentioned that Maybe when I was ready, I could take a class or possibly volunteer at BAYarts. I went about the business of life and moving to a new place and put the BAYarts card in my wallet. Just in case …

It wasn’t until a few months later that I received a phone call asking if I would like to attend the yearly volunteer appreciation lunch. It would be a great opportunity to learn about what volunteer opportunities were available at BAYarts. I was so shocked she remembered and I immediately said YES. From that day forward BAYarts has been a part of my life.

Since the first time I stepped on to the campus, I have served in many capacities at BAYarts, volunteer, staff, and now have the honor of being on the Board of Directors. I have seen firsthand the hard work and creativity it takes to manage an art nonprofit. In today’s tight competition for funding the arts organization are often left with funding inadequacies. Despite these constraints, under the current leadership BAYarts is blooming and expanding and becoming this amazing cultural center for the arts. I am confident my dollars are being spent wisely to assure the future of this great organization.

BAYarts has brought to me a sense of community and belonging that is so vital to me. I have never made to feel unwelcome and have been encouraged to be the best I can be. Whether you take a class, volunteer, come to exhibits, concerts, art shows, gift shop or just sit on the porch and breathe in the lake air, BAYarts is here for everyone