Arts for All Inc. The Institute of Imagination is a nonprofit art studio in Carrollton and is making changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional artist Gerald Byrd started the nonprofit organization in 2014 and still runs it today.
Arts for All’s mission is to provide high-quality art and science instruction as well as inspiration to individuals and families in the community. Arts for All holds classes for adults and children with special needs and partakes in community outreach as well. The organization also holds camps for children ages five and up during school breaks.
Before the pandemic, Arts for All held most of its activities in the studio located in Adamson Square. Byrd decided to suspend in-person activities in March for the safety of the community and himself.
Since all in-person activities for the organization were suspended, Byrd decided to close the physical studio. The organization was renting the building for the studio at the time, but paying for rent and utilities was not feasible since the studio was not holding any activities.
“COVID-19 slashed our clientele by more than half since we serve people with special needs and terminal illnesses and could no longer have those individuals join us in our studio,” said Byrd. “It just did not make sense to continue to accumulate the bills on a building that could not be used.”
Recently, Arts for All has been serving the community with its party services. Members of the community can call the organization, and it will provide birthday party or paint party supplies with curbside pickup service. The party service has been the organization’s main source of funding during this time.
“Our curbside party services were wildly popular at the beginning of the pandemic, but they have lost popularity now that schools are open and people have become more relaxed about things than they were months ago,” said Byrd.
Currently, Byrd plans on keeping Arts for All’s physical location closed even after the pandemic is over. Byrd plans on the organization continuing the same community outreach, classes and camps as before the studio closed but at locations like parks and churches.
“I think the pandemic has caused not only my organization but also other organizations to see that things can be run differently than the normal ways,” said Byrd.
Another change Arts for All plans to make is with the board of directors. Byrd wants to strengthen the board of directors by adding people who will help find funding for the organization. Byrd also wants to find more people with higher connections to the art world to sit on the board.
“I want people on the board who will be more aggressive about funding,” said Byrd. “With more funding we could eventually build a facility of our own.
“I know the studio will be missed by the community,” continued Byrd. “It was a great place full of stories and magic, but I am glad we are transitioning because change is refreshing.”