On May 8, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Down East Folk Arts Society (DEFAS) voted to dissolve the organization, implementing Article XIII of our organization’s By-Laws. The North Carolina Secretary of State has been duly notified of our dissolution on that date.
In 2018, our Board crafted a new Mission Statement for DEFAS: “To Build Community Through Music, While Preserving the Traditional Folk Arts.”
Concurrently, in keeping with our new mission statement, the Board adopted a new business model. We discontinued paid memberships and began to offer free admission to our concerts. We took this approach to assure that any and everyone, regardless of means, in the communities in which we operated, could come listen to the wonderful “World” music we’d offered since our founding in 1992. And to reduce overhead, in lieu of selling tickets, we “passed the hat” at our free concerts. We relied on the generosity of our attendees to make a contribution for our performers based on the perceived value of the artist’s presentation. And, indeed, our audiences were generous.
Then, during our last 2020 Winter Concert Series in March, the Covid-19 pandemic arrived. We had to cancel our last concert on March 13.
In the weeks since March, we monitored the impact that Covid-19 is anticipated to have on large group gatherings going forward. We looked closely at the reduction in the “seats in the house” that we would anticipate in order to practice safe social distancing, and the impact that would have on our business model. Too, we looked at the demographics of our audience, and the safety and liability issues impacting us and our venue partners. Safety of our community of attendees was paramount.
Weighing the data, it was the Board’s belief that putting on live concerts, once permitted, in the next 12-24 months was going to be too problematic for the good of our communities, which led to this difficult dissolution decision.
The last two years have been just a small piece of the rich history DEFAS built in our Craven and Carteret County communities and venues fo nearly thirty years. As we dissolve the organization, the Board salutes the efforts and contributions of all the former, dedicated Board members and the litany of volunteers for their service to our non-profit.
We also want to thank all of the wonderful artists who graced our stages; we will continue as individuals to look for ways we can support them and their talents, and urge all of you to do the same.
Lastly, we want to thank all of the people who attended our concerts over the years. You were the reason we did what we did. You will forever be “Our DEFAS Community.”