Photo courtesy GOPAR/Twitter
Central Florida arts leaders and advocates have banded together to create Greater Orlando Performing Arts Relief (GOPAR), a charitable organization to give a much-needed boost to our vibrant local performing arts scene.
With live performances and events largely on hold and theme parks limiting or straight-up nixing shows, too many local arts and entertainment industry workers have seen their livelihood dramatically impacted and need immediate assistance.
The goal is for GOPAR to become an accredited 501(c)3 organization that will aid artists in the area far beyond the current economic crisis. In partnership with St. Luke's United Methodist Church, some of the services that GOPAR will offer include financial assistance, food resources, physical and mental health resources, and volunteer opportunities.
In a recent interview for Live Active Cultures
, local playwright and arts advocate Michael Wanzie – who helped pave the way for this initiative with the Social Distance Showcase fundraisers he hosted alongside Kenny Howard and Rich Charron – characterized GOPAR as "a permanent charitable organization for actors and people who work in the arts, who fall in distress on a year-round basis, and not just because there's a national crisis going on."
GOPAR will kick off their efforts with a Facebook Live Labor Day weekend event on Friday, Sept. 4, as a way to both entertain and raise awareness about the work that GOPAR will be doing for and with the local creative community.
“Central Florida is so blessed with a tremendous talent pool, but at the moment so many of those artists are unemployed due to the coronavirus and are in jeopardy of losing any state or federal assistance they may have had,” says Jim Helsinger, Artistic Director at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, in a press release. “Our community needs to take steps to ensure we can keep talented artists who are in temporary distress in our area for the future enjoyment of all.”
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