Local artist Rich VanGogh and the Welcome Aboard Travel agency have teamed up to create Cruise 4 the Arts, a charity project benefiting the arts community in Reno. People signing up for a Cruise 4 the Arts through Welcome Aboard Travel can make an extra $50 donation to the program which will be matched by the cruise line, producing a $100 donation. VanGogh is hoping $25,000 can be raised for Artown. Any proceeds exceeding the $25,000 will benefit other art programs in Reno.
Tell me about the program.
The cruise project is a quarterly cruise project. It’s going to be spring, fall, summer, winter, and I came up with the idea to raise money for the arts, and it sort of keeps developing. I originally wanted to raise money for Artown, and right now I’ve found out that the cruise lines do the matching funds for 501(c)(3)s. [Non profit organizations are covered by the Internal Revenue Service code under section 501(c).]
Is your program a formal 501(c)(3)?
I’m not a 501(c)(3), but I’m raising money for 501(c)(3)s. The passenger would make like a $50 dollar donation, and the cruise line will match it, so every passenger ends up causing a donation of $100 for the arts. So, if I only get 100 people per cruise, per quarter, that will still generate $40,000. So, my initial goal was $25,000 for Artown to be a festival sponsor.
Which organizations do you have on board?
Yes. I haven’t met with the art museum yet, but I’m planning on donating to the art museum and Sierra Arts. I have not met with them, but I have met with Reno Jazz Orchestra. They’re interested, and I want to include Reno Philharmonic, I have not met with them. Opera Del Canto, I have met with them. That’s it for right now. The goal is, as the cruises get larger and larger, there are some events that cruise lines that do … book a whole ship, you know, a couple thousand people. As I began to research this, there was no cruise for the arts that I had been able to find in any of the cruise lines.
Would your cruise include the arts as part of the entertainment?
I want to include arts in the cruise as well. The first couple may not have anything like that, but the goal is, eventually, like, for example, Artown, my goal eventually is like to march with the marching band, or someone from the encore series to go along, maybe Arlo Guthrie, or something like that. The possibilities are unlimited because the cruise ships perfectly lend themselves to the arts. They have stages and music. No one has ever done this before, so it’s like a first in maritime history.
Tell me about your own art.
I am an urban landscape painter. I do buildings. I was accepted to Philadelphia College of Art back in 1979. I grew up on the east coast and then transferred to California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and I got my Bachelor’s degree there, actually in film and video. My passion is really painting, and I’m applying for an MFA at UNR next year, hopefully I get accepted. February is the deadline. But I do, like, colorful paintings of real places and its usually architectural buildings so they’re either like, I did all of Florida and Key West.