Local musicians, dancers and artists are joining together to create the Virtual Holiday Spectacular (VHS), a holiday variety show to be streamed on Facebook at 8pm on December 20, 2020. Featuring soloist Addison Agen, Fort Wayne native and Season 13 runner-up of NBC’s The Voice, and hosted by Terra Brantley, WANE-15 news anchor, the show will feature artists and musicians from throughout the region.
“Seeing the pandemic devastate the arts world inspired this project,” Andy Lott, executive producer and Artists Untied, Inc., founder, said. “This is a love letter and a thank you to our community from the many artists it has supported for decades. We know this holiday season is going to look a lot different than normal but we are hoping we can still spread some cheer and make new memories and traditions with our supporters.”
Artists Untied, Inc., a nonprofit that aims to empower artists to innovate, collaborate and connect directly to the community, is presenting the event with the support of its donors and partners, including more than $250,000 in in-kind donations. Despite the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 on arts and entertainment organizations, the organizers’ mission is to keep the arts alive and relevant, uplifting the community during the holiday season. Participants include, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Heartland Sings, the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, the Purdue Fort Wayne School of Music, Theoplis Smith, PUNCH Films, Embassy Theatre, the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, the Fort Wayne Ballroom Company, Musicians of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Indianapolis Symphonies, the Indianapolis Ballet and more.
“Everybody’s financial situation has been affected by the pandemic so we felt it was essential that this event be available to everyone, which is why we have made it completely free,” Lott said. “We’re recording audio, filming video and editing together a one-of-a-kind show in a safe, socially-distanced way.”
Because live, in-person entertainment will be limited this year, the show’s creators wanted to gift the community with a virtual experience, while raising money for the Artist Relief Fund, Community Harvest Food Bank and many local artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic. All donations made to the event are tax deductible and will be going to directly to artists, their organizations and charities.
“This is a crucial moment for the arts across our community, our country and the world,” Lott said. “The pandemic has forced older artists retire early, middle-aged artists to change careers and the younger generation to change majors. If we do not act quickly to support the arts, we will lose generations of knowledge and talent and the arts may not recover for decades.”
For more information and to support the project, visit fwspectacular.com.