Fundraising Efforts for Art Access

 In Education, Fundraising

A Note from Our Director, Courtney Gardner:

PFAC Director Courtney GardnerPeninsula Fine Arts Center does two main fundraising events a year. Our next event is October 14, The Heist. We changed the theme of our annual art auction from a Barbeque to a Casino Night and Speakeasy, but it is still our annual art auction. The money is going to support our Art Access and Healing Arts Veterans program.

PFAC started in 1962 with a tradition of “ART FOR ALL”!  Looking back through our history makes me long for the glory days in the late 1990’s when I was the Development Director at PFAC. Back then, PFAC used to receive $300,000 a year from the Commonwealth from Museum funding and $60,000 a year from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Now, all museums that are not state agencies receive nothing and the Arts Commission formula funding is less and less each year. To add insult to injury, we just received notification a few weeks ago that the state was cutting  Arts Commission funding by another 5% mid-year, that has not happened since 2009.

While PFAC continues to work daily to serve the public through exhibitions that inspire, entertain, and confront issues of the day; we struggle because of these funding cuts to ensure we have the resources to ensure that ALL of our community continues to have access to the arts. We could raise the prices of classes, institute more fees, and raise the cost of membership.

art access

However, at PFAC we decided to take a different approach.  We believe that we can use art as a tool for social change and community building.All the studies suggest that children exposed to art at an early age go to museums as adults.


Because our local school systems have a reduce lunch population of over 60%, we know that too many families on the Peninsula cannot afford admission or program fees. So, PFAC started Art Access. Each year, we raise the money to reduce and eliminate fees for school children, families, veterans and organizations to be able to use all that PFAC has to offer.


art acess



Each year when I ask PFAC to pass the budget, I bring relentless optimism, innovation and imagination to the biggest challenge facing education today: the opportunity gap.  I know with your support of our fundraising events like The Heist, your membership renewal, and your additional donations, Art Access can serve 30,087 school age children like we did last year. We can open our doors to 59,048 people like we did last year. Finally, we can engage new audiences and introduce the arts to ALL, just like how we started.




Please, purchase your tickets to The Heist, enjoy a great evening out, support the arts, and give back to your community, all with the purchase of your Heist ticket,

Thank you to a great Heist Committee of volunteers. Without their support we could not pull of the event.  Thanks to Tricia Russell, Barbara Rosenbaum, Tasha Rose, Kym Lawson, Betty Peach, Rebecca Carpenter, Becky Fitchett, Trish Melochick, Patti Hall, Jane Susan Frank, Susan Bryant, Mary Johnson, Sidney Jordan, Kay Ferguson, Amy Ziglar, and Flora Chioros.

Courtney Gardner
PFAC Executive Director
(757) 596-8175
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