Year-End Fund Drive

Photo by Adrianna Newell

It’s hard to believe we have already arrived at our year-end fund drive. It was only nine months ago, the day after my last Mardi Gras in New Orleans, my wife and I packed the car for the long drive North, to finally move home after ten years away. We headed through the Shenandoah Mountains listening to the radio, and story after story warned of the novel coronavirus, seemingly becoming more dire with each mile we covered. We had to turn it off. That was enough of the news for one day. We assured ourselves that we would be safe. 

A week later, we attended WKC’s Annual Membership Meeting. It was a balmy day for mud season, and as we enjoyed the sun on the porch of the Mill Pond Inn, we couldn’t escape the whispers of concern. Four days after that, the state issued its first capacity restriction and we began working remotely. The Annual Meeting, an event that should mark the start of a new year, now reminds me of the last time I saw many familiar faces. 

At first, the only people I saw outside of my “pod” were the daily visitors, working remotely in their parked cars using the Centre’s WiFi. When school let out and the cars disappeared, it was the goats next door who would make daily visits, and after they left, it was what appeared to be murder hornets in the office…those were far less welcomed than our other company.  And then there was the lightning strike. The first one in the building’s 170 year history. It splintered the steeple, burned a hole in our circuit breaker, and damaged a slew of lighting and office equipment. I started to wonder if the building was rejecting me – that maybe the ghosts of parishioners past were trying to send me a message. My wife had to remind me that was ridiculous, magical thinking, and that the world was, in fact, just chaos. I had to reframe: the building was still standing! Now that the steeple was open, it actually provided us the opportunity to reinforce the roof, rebuild the steeple, and replace some siding that had needed work. We started constructing a new deck, a new bluestone path, and even got rid of the hornets nest. 

Despite the heartbreak at the idea of dismantling my first season at the WKC, I look back heartened and inspired by the way our team and community adapted to the new normal. As artists and audience, it was your home that became our stage this year. OKAN, Shakespeare B-Sides, Shakespeare in the ValleyEast Meets West, the Garden Tour, a Drive-In Concert, even our Member Spotlight Series on social media – it was you that opened your homes and made the West Kortright Centre larger than just a building. 

This building is resilient, but not without the people that support it. It has lasted 170 years, not because it has avoided lightning but because, throughout generations, a community has seen its intrinsic value. Winston Churchill reminded us that, “it is by art man gets nearest to the angels and farthest from the animals … It lights the path and links the thought of one generation with another.” 

If you are able, please include the WKC in your year-end giving plans and help us reach our goal of $10,000.  As state and federal funding face challenging times, and we approach an uncertain winter, more than ever we are looking to our community, our own backyard, for support. By making a contribution of any amount, you will be an integral part of the effort to ensure that the West Kortright Centre continues to “light the path” for years to come.  

On behalf of our board and staff, we miss you all, we can’t wait to see you next summer, and we can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support. Happiest of holidays to everyone, and cheers to better things to come.

All the best,
Patrick Barnes, Executive Director


Your support will allow us to sustain our mission of bringing world-class performances and learning opportunities to this special corner of Delaware County, as well as to make sure our historic building continues to be in good repair.

By making a contribution of any amount, you’re an integral part of the effort to ensure that the West Kortright Centre continues to be a warm, welcoming and engaging gathering place for culture in our community.

Thank you!