With state funding for the arts down by 35% from this time two years ago, the support of the arts on the local level by individuals and businesses is more essential than ever before.
South Shore Arts and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra are the region’s two oldest arts organizations. South Shore Arts began in 1936 when a dedicated group of local artists organized the first annual art exhibition of the Hammond District Art Association in the millinery (that’s lady’s hats) department of the Edward C. Minas Department Store in downtown Hammond.
The Gary Civic Symphony Orchestra, now known as the Northwest Indiana Symphony, performed its first concert five years later on December 7, 1941, with 86 volunteer musicians performing under the direction of a cello teacher from Chicago, who had relocated to Gary. They opened the concert that evening with a thundering performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
I think we all know that you don’t get to be in your seventies without a lot of support. Both South Shore Arts and the Symphony have rich traditions, and, thanks to decades of support from loyal donors and audiences, have flourished, growing into regional entities with annual budgets exceeding a million dollars.
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