Norfolk mermaids auctioned off 20 years ago help provide funding to local art organizations

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Posted at 7:37 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 07:37:31-04

NORFOLK, VA - The Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities gave $43,000 in emergency relief funding to support 20 local arts organizations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports say the money came from the Mermaids on Parade events held over 20 years ago! Arts supporters Peter and Bess Decker spearheaded the mermaid mascots which can be found throughout the streets and buildings in Norfolk.

Over 100 original fiberglass sculptures were hand-painted by local artists, adopted, and auctioned off to local businesses and individuals.

Most of the initial money raised was distributed to local arts organizations at the time. While no one imagined a pandemic of this scale, a portion of those original funds was set aside for just such a rainy day.

The money has been safeguarded for arts organizations with the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for use in times of emergency. The grants were made in an equitable manner to help the most vulnerable fiscal year 2020 grant recipients at a time when regular sources of funding are not possible.

They cannot sell tickets, events are cancelled, and yet they still have expenses and bills to pay.

Dr. Elizabeth Richards, Executive Director of Bay Youth Orchestras said, “On behalf of myself and all of us at Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, I want to thank you for this generous gesture. ... I appreciate your efforts to support our organization and others like ours during this time of uncertainty. Thank you again and again!”

The Commissioners thanks everyone for what they are doing during these difficult times and share in hopes for better times to come.

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