LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR: 2020 CALLS FOR CHANGE
Dear Invaluable Friend of Basilica Hudson –
Hello from my isolation to yours. I hope this finds you and yours first and foremost, healthy and feeling safe.
I have been thinking so much about the fate and changes to our big and beautiful factory, and the people who make it what it is: YOU. The Basilica people who visit us, follow us, celebrate with us and share in our love of the emerging, the fringe, the avant-garde, the loud, the beautiful, the weird, the friendly, the handmade, the unique, the yummy and the ABSOLUTE BLISS OF SHARING NEW EXPERIENCES WITH FELLOW HUMANS.
By this time in our spring season program, had things been “normal,” we would have supported our mission by offering a public platform to already 150+ regional musicians, makers and environmental advocates so far. Not hosting those treasured events means we lost a significant portion of our operating budget, and those individuals who rely on events like ours have been profoundly impacted, too. Basilica is nothing without people, and Basilica offers itself to you.
Basilica Hudson Turns 10: Time to celebrate our fearless creative communities.
When COVID-19 hit, we were about to announce our 10th Anniversary season. It consisted of our anchor programs that you likely have experienced before: 24-HOUR DRONE, Basilica Farm & Flea, Basilica SoundScape, biennial Pioneering People Basilica Benefit, our Film Screening Series and Hudson as Muse, Basilica’s Artist in Residence Series, this year supported in part by our first award from the National Endowments for the Arts.
Basilica Hudson brings up to 40,000 people to Hudson and supports 300+ independent artists, makers and activists annually. Thanks to your support over the years, our multi-disciplinary arts program was thriving, stable and expanding. We had fully embodied what we set out to do in 2010 when Tony and I first fell for the old factory and took this project on. This felt like a time to celebrate, but also a time for reflection.
The City of Hudson, the culture of our world and the state of our planet has changed so much since we began, and so have we. The most significant announcement we made before the pandemic hit was BASILICA GREEN, our growing commitment to ecological action and addressing the climate crisis upon us. Artists and arts organizations know humanity and beauty, and what is at stake, and we also have the ability and the creative minds to engage people to unify around this reality. The responsibility is ours for the taking, and we are so inspired by the many creatives who are stepping up to do that right now.
BASILICA GREEN: Time to transform and put our planet first.
Since 2010, sustainability has been a core part of Basilica’s vision and impact, starting when we reclaimed Basilica’s raw industrial space on the Hudson River and turned it into a solar-powered cultural destination, reclaiming an underutilized historic building and waterfront simultaneously. During this past decade the scientists (and teenagers!) have made it clear that we have gone from a climate warning to a climate emergency. Not unlike the pandemic that has us living in pause now, the emergency is suspended in slow motion, but the wake up call is loud and clear.
With our 2020 events on hold, Basilica is launching full steam ahead on the expansion of our ecological public program BASILICA GREEN that will lead our transformation into an Art x Eco center. Expanding our commitment to regenerating the planet, people and economy, it will pave the way into the next decade at Basilica Hudson.
BASILICA GREEN will include new partnerships with leaders in sustainability and environmental action, and formally merge the arts with ecology. The programmatic and mission expansion will be further enhanced by the kick-off of the Basilica Net Zero Campus project to transform our building and campus into a green and inviting carbon neutral facility for year-round programming inside and out, an opportunity made possible for Basilica by NYSERDA’s Net Zero Energy for Economic Development Program.
Big changes on the inside and out for all.
Due to COVID-19, Basilica Hudson has had to cancel its 2020 programming at least through the summer, and it is unlikely that we will be able to return to our large scale event experiences anytime soon. We are actively imagining how we can translate select programs to online or adjusted intimate experiences, as we did for 24-HOUR DRONE AT HOME, The Climate Action Film Festival with Sun Common and Kid Flicks Films with New York International Children’s Film Festival .
As an event-based organization, we stand to lose over 75% of the revenue that sustains our programs and operations. We know we are not alone in experiencing the impact of this crisis, but if you have the ability to donate anything at all or share this letter with someone who may support our vision, we thank you.
This time of local and global challenge is daunting, but it also has the power to dismantle systems and build new ones.This can be a moment of structural change, whether it be in your neighborhood or the way we use energy. The vulnerability we share right now is a rare moment to feel deeply connected to each other and where we live, PLANET EARTH, still full of so much possibility.
It is by no means comfortable or easy for most people right now, so I am grateful to be in touch with you here during this extreme moment in history. Please stay connected with us and if you can, take solace in the fact that creatives are always able to troubleshoot, change, adapt, build and find new paths into the future.
We are fortunate to be located in Hudson, NY, a region that is currently and historically overflowing with creativity and generosity of spirit. Together we can channel that creative spirit to get through this and step into a changed world.
Melissa Auf der Maur
Co-Founder and Director