MILLSBORO — It appears that the Greater Millsboro Art League is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.
A downtown Millsboro staple for more than three decades, the art league — seemingly on life support during the COVID-19 shutdown — reports it is on the comeback trail, thanks in part to membership revival and financial concessions from the town, which owns the league’s Main Street studio base.
Heidi Kuchta, the art league’s treasurer, provided an update at the July 6 town council meeting.
“First, I want to thank you for making July being rent-free. We do appreciate that,” Ms. Kuchta said. “We will be ready to pay our rent in August.”
On board are a full board of directors and 45 league members.
“It has gone from zero to 45 members,” said Ms. Kuchta. “Our goal is 160. We’re working on it.”
Another 30 members are anticipated in September through a quilter guild that will be meeting Sundays at the league’s facility, Ms. Kuchta said.
Summer camps for youth are also being held.
Earlier this year, Millsboro town council approved a one-year lease agreement that included three months’ rent forgiveness. As part of the agreement, mayor and council requested the art league provide a report monthly to the town on its financial and membership status.
Like many nonprofits, GMAL struggled with restrictions and financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. For much of the pandemic, the art league’s doors were closed.
With membership on hold amid uncertainty and public health concerns, GMAL fell behind several months on its $550 monthly rent. The art league did catch up on several months’ back rent through donations.
Ms. Kuchta reported that, with a full board, the art league will begin “working on grants to help us cover our expenses.”
Through an agreement reached in fall 2019, the town has been paying for utilities — a tradeoff to the art league’s request for significant or complete rent reduction for the downtown base in an aging structure owned by the town.