How you can support the local arts & service industries during COVID-19

Folks, we hope all of you are staying safe and making it through this difficult time. Just by opening this post, you’ve shown an interest in supporting your neighbors in the arts and service industries, so we want to thank you — your love for this community is what makes the Triangle great.

Our nonprofit, Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc., manages our historic venue for the benefit of the community. Since the current situation prevents us from opening our doors and encouraging the region to gather in celebration of the arts, we thought we'd provide some ways you can support our arts and service communities.

Before you give or make a purchase, we encourage you to ensure that your help will reach those in need. Generally, rely on your common sense:

  • Do your research. Ensure that any crowdfunding source is legitimate, and that an online shop will give the artist or organization either all or a cut of the proceeds. If you’re supporting through a crowdfunding site, you can check the artist’s or organization’s website and social media to confirm that they are directly involved in the campaign. You can also reach out directly to the artist or organization.
  • If you feel pressured or rushed to donate — of course, beyond your own understanding of the impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — that’s a red flag.

For further advice, The New York Times compiled a great article on giving safely to arts workers.

How you can support local arts & arts organizations

Direct purchases and non-financial support:

  • Buy merch, music, books, gift certificates, et cetera directly from artists and organizations. Check their websites for online shops or search for them on sales platforms like Bandcamp.
  • Interact with the artists and organizations you love on social media and at their virtual events. Find a list of local virtual events here.
  • Reach out! Let them know you’re supporting them. Ask how you can best support them.
  • As the INDY suggested, if you have purchased tickets, consider not asking for refunds or making your ticket price a tax-deductible gift for a nonprofit venue or organization.
  • Currently, the Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc is using surplus resources, without the benefit of incoming revenue, to sustain our venue, retain our full-time staff and program our space for events to welcome guests back when this is all over. You can support our mission by donating to our nonprofit.


The Triangle

North Carolina


For more resources focused on supporting the arts in these uncertain times, look to the National Endowment for the Arts’ resource list and local coverage by media organizations like the INDY.

How you can support Durham’s service industry

In addition to the impact on arts in our community, we are aware that critical social distancing policies like ours decrease traffic to businesses in downtown Durham. In a standard year, our events make a significant economic impact by attracting more than 200,000 guests to downtown Durham each year. These guests shop, dine, drink and stay overnight, and sales tax on both those purchases and their tickets bolsters the local economy.

Beyond our economic ties to local business, these folks are our friends and neighbors. As we pull together to support the arts in Durham, let’s not forget the restaurants, shops, hotels and other storefronts that keep our community vivid.

Direct Purchases:

  • Purchase gift cards online for use once organizations have recovered and resumed regular services. Some local organizations, like Cocoa Cinnamon, also provide opportunities to donate towards their employees’ wages online.
  • Order for pick-up or delivery. When you order, Discover Durham advises that, “As long as patrons feel comfortable with it and are safe, pickup is a much better option for restaurants than delivery, even if both are offered. Unless delivery service is done in house, delivery services charge a large percentage of sales to each restaurant.”
    • Bites of Bull City has a great list of restaurants that are providing take-out and delivery options, as does Discover Durham.
    • Check your favorite restaurants’ social media accounts and email newsletters for live updates.
  • When you order, tip well.
  • Consider joining the #JustKeepTipping movement of tipping your favorite bartender via Venmo every time you have a drink at home.
    • You can also apply this concept to your hairdresser, barber, babysitter, et cetera.


We'd also like to shout out the folks who gave us a helping hand in our own time of need: Alley Twenty SixAmerican MeltdownBull McCabe'sChirba Chirba, Cocoa CinnamonThe Durham HotelEast Durham Bake ShopHutchins GarageLoafNinth Street Bakery, The ParlourPie Pushers, Rue ClerThe DurhamThe FederalThe Viceroy and Toast.

Durham, we’re proud to be part of a community that is committed to supporting each other. If you know of resources that aren’t included above, please share them with us on Facebook.

To learn more about our response to the novel coronavirus, read our full release here.


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