Save the date for a “Big Night In for the Arts” on March 11

Pittsboro, NC – After nearly a year of closures and cancellations, the arts have suffered disproportionately from the destructive impact of the pandemic. For the first time ever, arts councils from Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties are joining forces to enlist support for the arts through a live event – Big Night In for the Arts. The regional fundraising initiative will broadcast live on WRAL-TV and livestream online on March 11 at 7pm. It will boast a super-star line-up, including Ariana DeBose, Tony-nominated actress/singer/dancer and Raleigh native; Mandolin Orange, nationally acclaimed folk music duo, based in Chapel Hill; Branford Marsalis, three-time Grammy Award® winner and internationally renowned saxophonist, based in Durham; and Mike Wiley, nationally acclaimed actor and playwright based in Chatham County. Additional national and local artists from each county to be announced.

In partnership with WRAL-TV, Big Night In for the Arts will address the impact of COVID-19 on the arts, and highlight the missions of the four organizations that lead and support the Triangle’s local arts infrastructure. The fundraising event, taking place about a year after the first stay-at-home orders were implemented, marks a critical step forward in helping local artists and arts/cultural organizations begin their path to recovery. Dollars raised will go toward arts programming, initiatives for equity in the arts, and artist/arts organizations’ relief.

“Without question, arts help heal and restore a community,” said Joel Davis, Vice President and General Manager of WRAL-TV & FOX 50. “The arts, in many different forms, bring joy, restore peace, and sometimes serve as a critical eye to the human condition. Through this lens, we recognize that supporting programming and fundraising like this is more important than ever, moving forward.”

Research shows the arts serve as an avenue for emotional expression and can be particularly therapeutic during stressful times. With the pandemic, arts venues have been the first entities to close and will likely be the last to reopen. Based on data from Arts & Economic Prosperity 5, a report authored by Americans for the Arts in 2015, the arts in the Triangle create more than 31,000 full-time jobs and upwards of $850 million in total annual economic activity. The arts are essential to the economic recovery our region desperately needs. With this in mind, organizers for Big Night In for the Arts have vital fundraising goals.

“History tells us that when society is hurt or wounded, and in tumult or turmoil, the arts have rescued us,” explained Wiley. “While a painting or a film or a song is no vaccine, nor peace treaty, they are however light in the darkness, laughter in the rain and music to press on to. And in that salve that soothes the world’s wounds, we find the elixir of hope. Hope that makes life worth living, worth fighting for. The arts give us hope, that united we are greater than the sum of our problems, greater than the sum of our differences. Art transcends social distancing, travel bans and quarantines. Art will document these dark days yes, but art will also lead us out of them.”

Arts supporters can join the effort prior to the event as sponsors or donate live during the event. Audiences and arts enthusiasts who have enjoyed the arts across the Triangle for years can make a gift to benefit the four counties collectively or designate which specific county they would like to support. Every dollar helps ensure the arts in the Triangle will survive and thrive long after this pandemic has lifted.

“We’re working this year with a call to service, solace, and hope through the arts,” expressed Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director, Chatham Arts Council. “These dollars will have specific, local impact for kids who need art supplies at home, artists who are struggling to pay for basic needs, teachers and students who could use some support through remote learning, and more than that, too.”

Join us on March 11 and show your support of the arts! For more information on the talented artists headlining this event, sponsorship opportunities, or to donate prior to the event, go to


Born out of a love and respect for the arts, Big Night In for the Arts is a regional fundraising event to help local artists and arts/cultural organizations begin on a path of recovery and reentry after the pandemic has lifted. It represents the first time arts councils from Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties have joined together in support of a mutual cause. In partnership with WRAL-TV, the Chatham Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, the Orange County Arts Commission, and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County are working together to maximize efforts to rally robust financial support for artists and arts/cultural organizations on March 11. For more information, please visit

About the Chatham Arts Council

The Chatham Arts Council nurtures creative thinkers in Chatham County. We do this in two ways: we invest in artists and we educate kids through the arts. In its thirty-seventh year as a nonprofit arts agency, Chatham Arts Council’s flagship programs include Meet This Artist, Go See This, artist grants, and the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative – serving more than 3,500 children this year. Chatham Arts Council is proud to partner with the NC Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and numerous Chatham arts organizations, human resource nonprofits, and local businesses. For more information, visit