Charleston’s Fund for the Arts will host its annual Wine & Jazz Music Festival at 6 p.m. Saturday, but like almost every other FestivALL event, it’s going to be online.
Jill McIntyre, president for Fund for the Arts, said the pandemic disrupted their plans for the summer.
“We started planning in December and we were going on, as usual, when the pandemic happened,” she said.
At first, the arts group canceled its annual day of jazz, but McIntyre said some of the younger board members convinced the rest that the festival could still move forward online.
They needed to try, at least.
“Almost a third of the money distributed by our arts organization comes from Wine & Jazz,” she said.
Fund for the Arts provides financial support to 12 local arts groups, including: the Charleston Ballet, the Charleston Chamber Music Society, the Charleston Civic Chorus, the Charleston Light Opera Guild, the Children’s Theatre of Charleston, the Clay Center’s Avampato Discovery Museum, Friends of Old Time Music and Dance, the Kanawha Players theater group, the River City Youth Ballet Ensemble, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the West Virginia Youth Symphony and womanSong.
How much each group depends on Fund for the Arts depends on the size and needs of the organization, but McIntyre said Wine & Jazz made about $50,000 last year.
“Losing that was going to significantly affect our ability to fulfill our mission,” she said.
Without seeing a way to make up the lost funds, going forward with the virtual Wine & Jazz festival made the most sense. This year’s festival features performances by New York-based international jazz guitarist Shubh Saran, along with Charleston’s Bob Thompson Trio.
Born in India, Saran, the son of Indian diplomats, spent his formative years in six different countries before making his home in New York. His music blends modern jazz with neo-soul, rock and contemporary Indian music.
The virtual festival will be streamed free through the group’s YouTube channel. The stream will also be available on the Fund for the Arts’ Facebook page, where people can also learn more about the various arts groups the organization serves and get details about a contest to win tickets to next year’s Wine & Jazz festival.
“The virtual festival is free, but we’re doing an associated GoFundme campaign until July 8,” McIntyre said. “We’ve set a campaign goal of $50,000 [which is] what we made last year.”
She said they hoped people would contribute to help keep the arts vibrant in Charleston, but also just enjoy the music Saturday night.
“We hope people will have socially distanced house parties, tune in and listen on their porch with a glass of West Virginia wine,” she said, adding, “or any wine, really.”