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Fundraising effort underway for arts facility

ELKINS — A fundraising effort is underway to help support a local arts facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cheryl Jacko, principal of the Highland Adventist School, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise $22,000 for the Randolph County Community Arts Center while classes and events are canceled.

“In our rural, Appalachian community, our Arts Center makes a huge impact on the lives of people of all ages,” reads the donation page. “It brings culture to our small town and opens up the eyes and hearts of our kids to the arts in ways that wouldn’t be possible without the center.”

The Arts Center has had to cancel upcoming classes, afterschool programs, fundraisers, concerts and events in response to Gov. Jim Justice’s “stay at home” order. Many artists and instructors are out of work for the time being.

Kurt Barkley, executive director of The Arts Center, said he and the Center are very grateful for Jacko’s initiative.

“The Arts Center has always been very fortunate to enjoy such broad support from this amazing community and our local governments. Even so, I was moved when Cheryl contacted us and asked if she could do this for us,” said Barkley.

“It really means a great deal to us, more especially now that we are temporarily shut down. This will help us greatly when we re-open after the current health situation resolves.”

“The Arts Center has been a big part of the lives of our Highland Adventist School students and families,” Jacko said. “We have attended many brown bag concerts there, participated in the student art show, taken art classes and rented the auditorium for our school events. The staff of the center has worked hard to enrich the lives of our students and to introduce our students to a variety of art forms. We appreciate them so much and cannot imagine our town without our Arts Center.”

Jacko is urging members of the community to share the link on their social media pages and donate if they are able.

“The Center depends on income from donors, concert tickets, classes… to keep local artists and the center itself functioning. All that has vanished in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” she said.

All donations to the 501(c)(3) are tax deductible and the donation page can be found by searching “We can’t lose our Art Center” on gofundme.com.

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