From “Loss Leaders” to “Fundraisers” & The Cover that Almost Was

WINTER 2021 ONLINE CLASSES ARE NOW AVAILABLE!

Happy December…and here’s to one month closer to the New Year!

Over this past snowy weekend I had the opportunity to attend a virtual performance and fundraiser for a wonderful local arts organization. The event was well attended and hopefully very helpful to the host organization in these uncertain times. Over the years people have suggested to me that LCE plan a fundraising event. If there ever was a time to be thinking of such things it most certainly is now. Just like other similar programs in town, and in towns surrounding Lexington, our program is experiencing significant financial challenges due to the pandemic. With that said, my response to the fundraiser idea has usually been that “everything we do is a fundraiser.”

As Lexington Community Education/Lexplorations is a self-supporting program of the Lexington Public Schools, we survive by operating under a business model. After the minimum registration requirements are met to cover the direct cost of paying our instructors, each of our classes and events essentially act as fundraisers for our self-supporting program to cover our fixed costs.

This winter, the majority of our special events are being offered without cost to the program, and so all revenue generated by them contributes directly to fixed costs. With the diverse array of topics covered in our winter special event calendar, a registration for one or more of these virtual happenings not only gives you access to a great and unique event, it also directly contributes to our program overhead and helps ensure our being able to bring you the best in community education in the months and years ahead.

Those of you who have been participants with our program over the last twelve years have had the opportunity to spend time at events with people including classical guitar virtuoso Elliot Fisk, former Irish President Mary Robinson, Noam Chomsky, Jane Hirshfield, Galway Kinnell, Bucky Pizzarelli, Coleman Barks, Tom Rush, Li-Young Lee, Rebecca Newberger, Ralph Nader, Joseph Nye, Robert Bly, Ocean Robbins, Emily Wilson, Joe Lovano, Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, Richard Louv, John Densmore, Max Tegmark, Bill McKibben, Rachel Dratch, Ambassador Dennis Ross, Sy Montgomery, Chen Chen, Sherry Turkle, Vijay Iyer, Tom Ryan, and Franz Wright to name just a few. While in the past we have thought about some of these events as “loss leaders” this winter I hope that will be seen and will act as “fundraisers.” 

As mentioned in the winter 2021 catalog “Letter from the Director,” I was taught that if offerings are diverse and intellectually stimulating, registrations will follow and finances will be almost a secondary concern. That teaching is built on the condition that the communities we serve value and take part in what the program has to offer. Lexington Community Education has been in operation since at least the mid 1970s, and I have full confidence that our learning community (made up of people like you) will rally and register for our great private music lessons, classes, and events online this winter.

Many of you know that over the last few months we have suffered the loss of instructors Gerry Goolkasian and Ushi Kullman, and we have dedicated this winter 2021 term to their memory. Our catalog cover art Area Broken by Perpendiculars, was chosen with Ushi and Gerry in mind. Both were lovers of math and art, and I think that both would have appreciated the combination of those elements in the work of our cover artist.

The snowy images above are of cover art that I had originally considered and arranged for the winter 2021 catalog. While absolutely beautiful, the snowy night road image started to feel a little bleak considering all the solitude and sadness in the world, as well as the loss of Gerry and Ushi.

I now offer these images to you on this blog for your enjoyment and amusement and as an example of what you will not have to deal with when you participate in an online class or event with us this winter.  As far as LCE 2021 Online winter classes go, I say “Let It Snow!” 

I hope to see you on Zoom in 2021, and I thank you for your participation and support!

Craig

Craig Hall, Director of Lexington Community Education

The Art Object: 1.

Winter Night 1930s

By: Emile Branchard, American, 1881–1938

Oil on paperboard

18.41 x 27.94 cm (7 1/4 x 11 in.)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Bequest of John T. Spaulding

48.522

Photograph © November 2020, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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