Though the norm for hosting events has drastically changed for many businesses and organizations throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy Center of the Arts has successfully and safely responded to the need for spaces to host virtual or hybrid events during this uncertain time.
In November 2020, local non-profit organization Lynchburg Beacon of Hope hosted their Second Annual Art for Achievement event at the Academy in the Warehouse Theatre. The Art for Achievement event is known for being the largest art auction in Lynchburg, Virginia, including upwards of 200 original pieces of artwork. The 10×10 sized pieces are displayed on large boards for attendees to browse while enjoying a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. While plenty of gazing at art continues throughout the course of the event, attendees can make their bids through paper bidding before the live auction.
“We knew in December 2019 that we wanted to do a second Art for Achievement event and we knew we wanted to host it at the Academy,” said Laura Hamilton, Executive Director of Lynchburg Beacon of Hope. “We love the Academy and love doing work with a community connection.”
After planning for an in-person event in November 2020, Lynchburg Beacon of Hope went in a different direction given the impact of the pandemic.
“We hosted a hybrid event, which contained an in-person element as well as a virtual component. From there, we jumped feet first into the virtual world with the Academy team by our side.” The result was an event that was remarkably different than the first fundraiser hosted in 2019.
“We completely changed the event and took the art auction virtual, then spread the auction over the course of 48 hours and ran a silent auction as well as a live virtual auction,” said Laura. “A major plus of working hands-on with Sarah and her team at the Academy was figuring out the best online auction platform to use for our event.”
In the beginning stages of planning the second annual event, the Beacon of Hope team stood around the grand piano in the Warehouse Theatre Lobby and threw out ideas to get started. “Sarah, Tabitha, and the entire production team each said, ‘we hear what you need for your event, and here is how it’s going to work’,” said Laura.
“We could not have executed this event without the Academy. We knew the Academy was a phenomenal resource and when you rent with the Academy you’re not just reserving a space, you’re working with a team of fully competent staff.”
One of Laura’s favorite things about working with the Academy Center of the Arts’ staff was how in-depth of a look they took while discussing the event details.
“All the questions that were asked, and had we not addressed those issues beforehand we could have had a few disasters on our hands during the event.”
When Laura was asked how she felt about the outcome of their November event, she said “it was a tremendous success. I cannot imagine it having gone any better. The whole thing was so beautifully orchestrated. Our team at Beacon of Hope was able to bring our creative ideas and stories of our amazing students to the table and the Academy was able to execute the event with ease.”
“When you’re having an event like this you expect some of those hiccups to happen when you’re pulling off a live event, but this event was as seamless as it could have gone off.”
Two weeks after their Art for Achievement event, Lynchburg Beacon of Hope reached out to the Academy to schedule their Third Annual event for 2021. “We don’t know what 2021 November is going to look like, but we do know what we can do by partnering with the Academy.”
“The Academy truly bends over backward to provide a space accessible for all and it was no question how to host our event for next year.”
For all rental inquires, please contact Sarah Proctor at [email protected].