By Jamie Kuser, Publisher
Normally, I would be using this space to tell you what is being produced on our local stages, but our current situation is anything but normal. With everyone’s lives turned upside down, we are forced to look at our personal and professional lives a little differently. There is not one of us who is unaffected by this pandemic. Truth be told, it is very scary. We’ve lived through hurricanes, cancer battles and loss of life, but nothing has ever been quite like this.
Although it may be difficult to stay positive as we experience loss of money, our jobs, human interaction or worse yet, death … we still need to reach deep inside and find faith and hope for tomorrow. Social separation is tough, but absolutely necessary if we are going to defeat this enemy. We don’t need our government or elected officials to tell us how to behave. We simply need to ask ourselves if our behavior and mindset are selfish or selfless, hateful or loving, cruel or kind. We are fortunate that we, as humans, have the free will to make that choice. And with that choice comes consequences or rewards. At the end of the day, only you can decide how you will live your life in your home, at your workplace, in your neighborhood and in your community.
These past few weeks have been tough or all of us, and the next few weeks (or months) may be even tougher. But, together as a human race, we can move forward and survive … together.
As the owners of two monthly event magazines, it is difficult to tell our thousands of long-time followers about the variety of activities going on, when in reality not much is happening right now.
With that said, we decided to take this issue forward and focus on the road ahead. We don’t want to dwell on what is not happening or what was canceled or postponed. Instead, we want to focus on what will come in the future.
The arts and entertainment community has taken a huge hit. The theatres are shut down, galleries are closed, concert halls are dark and restaurants and bars are waiting to re-open.
Because of the tremendous support, friendships and loyalty we have seen over the past 25 years for Happenings Magazine, we decided to give our partners free advertising in this month’s magazine. For health and safety reasons, we are not able deliver our normal 19,000 copies of the printed magazine to our 550 distribution points throughout Southwest Florida. Instead, we have made the April issue of Happenings Magazine 100% digital. We have been publishing a digital version of the magazine for a few years, but this one is more special. We are utilizing extra ways to get this issue into even more hands. And because schedules and events are changing daily, we will be making regular updates online all month long.
Our current plan is to return to a normal print (and digital) issue with the May magazine.
We want to make sure our advertisers’ messages are getting out to the thousands of online followers we have. Many of our arts organizations are non profits and are experiencing major financial losses by refunding tickets to shows that have been canceled or postponed. If you can, try to support these local organizations and businesses with a ticket donation or purchase a season pass for 2020-21.
We will survive this pandemic, and hopefully we will come out better when it is all over. Together, we can stay strong, stay healthy and count our blessings. It is easy to think and talk about what we don’t have. Instead, let’s concentrate on the many blessings we do have.
We love you Southwest Florida, and we thank you for standing with us through it all.
Stay well, stay home & stay strong.