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Pablo Center launches fundraising campaign

Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 8:30 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The COVID-19 pandemic has led to months of cancellations, leading one local event center to ask for the community’s help.

For two years, the Pablo Center at the confluence in Eau Claire has been a place to showcase local artists. Then, COVID-19 broke out. According to director of development Monica Frederick, just like everything else, things at the Pablo Center changed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to months of cancellations, leading one local event center to ask for the community’s help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to months of cancellations, leading one local event center to ask for the community’s help.(WEAU)

“When we closed the center in March, we did have to part ways with over 160 part-time staff and we were able to keep on our core staff to keep operations moving forward,” she says.

With revenue streams dried up, its local artists who are suffering.

“I’m an old guy, so I get retirement. But my artwork, I was dependent on my artwork to sort of balance out what I made before I retired,” says local artist Terry Meyer. “I used to go to shows, I don’t do that anymore. All the galleries I’m in are closed, the only place to really sell is online.”

“In march it felt like the bottom fell out of the world on so many different levels,” says local musician Sue Orfield. “At this point, here we are in August, I’ve just accepted that this is my reality for awhile.”

After five months without revenue, the Pablo Center is launching a "Bridge Campaign," which aims to cover operating costs through the end of the year.

Part of that campaign, a virtual gala that shows how the Pablo Center has adapted.

“We want to see the Pablo succeed, but I also want to give to the Pablo in some way,” Meyer says

“Our goal for fundraising is $500,000 and so far, the community has responded really well to help us in our time of need,” Frederick says. “We still have a ways to go, but we are confident and hopeful that we will reach that goal.”

As part of the gala, Meyer and Orfield are collaborating a live-streamed painting and concert performance called “FLOWt.”

“Pablo took a chance on us,” Meyer says. “They have no idea how good or bad we are going to be and so they are taking a big chance on us and i really want to say that is the reason I’m here.”

Frederick says money raised from Thursday's gala will help the Pablo be ready to serve the community as soon as it is safe.

“So many people in the community wanted something like this for so many years, it’s just this wonderful thing and it is truly a center for community outreach,” Frederick says. “Its a place for everybody and a way for us to bring people in and experience something new.”

Finally something new that feels a little familiar. The virtual gala starts at 7:30 Thursday night, with a cocktail hour and the performance of “FLOWt” at 6 p.m.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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