Art for Awareness (AFA) was formed out of a desire to produce shows with a message of social justice. As we began working on our inaugural production of Next to Normal, the idea came to us to reach out to the community at large in order to increase our audience-base and to spread our message to people who might really benefit from it. Due to the fact that Next to Normal deals with severe mental illness, hallucinations, and suicide, AFA approached the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO). Over the next few months, this organization became integral to our production – they helped us with research and most importantly endorsed AFA and the show, lending us a type of credibility that spoke volumes for the work we do. This partnership helped to bring a diverse crowd to Next to Normal, which proved to be mutually beneficial. We solidified our place in Peterborough’s art scene while the Schizophrenia Society had the ear of 600 students at one show and a presence at every evening performance.
It was the audience, however, that really benefited. Messages from people of all ages – those affected by mental illness or just by the Human condition – came pouring in. We realized we were in a unique position to reach and affect people through art, and give back to a community which is strong, compassionate and supportive. Community partnerships are a huge part of how we achieve this. We have established excellent ties with Canadian Mental Health Association, SSO, LYNX: Early Psychosis Intervention, Human Resource and Justice Coordinating Committee and Team 55: Let’s Tackle Suicide Awareness.
The AFA mandate includes that a significant portion of any profits be donated to a local charity that ties to the themes of the show. For example, our latest original production Erasing the Stigma raised over $1400 for LYNX and $500 for the CMHA’s Kids on the Block Program.
Erasing the Stigma was so well-received that the CMHA requested that we perform as part of Clara Hughes’ “Clara’s Big Ride for Mental Health” event at Fleming College. It was subsequently remounted 2 months later at Showplace, with additional support from Team 55. Shortly after the remount, AFA was given the incredible honour of receiving the “Champion of Mental Health Award” from the CMHA and we look forward to a long partnership with all of our friends in the mental health community.
Slated for September 24th-27th 2014, close to Pride Week, is Hedwig and the Angry Inch - a rock musical about a transgendered singer looking for love, redemption, navigating life, and finding their other half. February 20th-28th, 2015 will see AFA produce the musical RENT tackling poverty, homelessness and survival against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. AFA is also collaborating with 4th Line Theatre and celebrated Canadian Playwright Judith Thompson on producing a new play dealing with cyber-bullying entitled “Who Killed Snow White”.
Forging new community partners during those productions is of paramount importance to AFA. Through them, we seek to increase our audience-base to ensure that the people who will benefit most from experiencing these productions will be informed of them. Art is a powerful tool to move people, to educate, to enlighten, and to normalize situations that are often treated as taboo. AFA, along with community partners, and a city full of talented people, can see to it that our productions do all that, and more.
Although nearly everyone involved in AFA’s productions are volunteers, there are still many costs we incur when mounting a production, from tech equipment, to script rental and rights. In order to meet our financial challenges and keep ticket prices affordable for all, we rely on the generosity of our friends in the community. There are several ways you or your organization can support the work of AFA:
1) Corporate/Business Sponsors for our 2014-2015 Season
We ask that you consider placing an advertisement as a corporate sponsor, knowing that your company name and message will be viewed by hundreds of people.
Prices for advertisements (in our Hedwig and Rent programs plus our Facebook and website) are as follows: Business card-sized ad - $50, Half-page ad - $100, Full-page ad - $150.
2) Individual Donation for our 2014-2015 Season
Prices for individual sponsorships are as follows: Bronze Sponsorship – donation of $50+, Silver Sponsorship – donation of $100+, Gold Sponsorship – donation of $150+. You will be listed in our programs for Hedwig and Rent as well as our Facebook page and website.
3) Promote AFA’s events through your various groups. As advertising can be very expensive we welcome any promotion your group could help us with. We encourage you to find us on Facebook and Twitter (links can be found through our website www.artforawareness.net).
For more info please contact:
Geoff Bemrose Cell: 705 957-1116 Email: email@example.com
Marsala Lukianchuk Cell: 416 886-3563 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your time.
The Board of Directors
Art for Awareness