Local Restaurants And Foodies Support Chandler Center For The Arts

Article Michelle Guerrero Photography Provided
Restaurants, such as The Living Room Wine Café and Lounge, are gearing up for the fourth annual citywide event, Eat Your Art Out Chandler, in support of Chandler Center for the Arts (CCA). Restaurant goers who eat at one of the participating restaurants on February 24th, partake in a delicious meal and leave knowing that a portion of their restaurant tab will be donated to CCA.
The restaurants tally their sales receipts at the end of the day and donate a minimum of 25% of those sales to the center. Guests don’t have to announce they are participating in the event, they just need to come and order a meal.

“The Living Room is a part of the community and giving back is at the very core of our existence. We love Chandler and feel honored to give back to this community,” says Ryan Watson, the general manager of The Living Room in Chandler.
Annually, The Living Room supports between eight to 10 charities, programs and individuals in need, such as first responders, teachers, school athletic programs, and they also participate in community events that benefit kids.
“Our restaurants have historically been supported by the neighborhoods we serve and for that we are grateful and choose to keep our giving close to home,” says Watson. “It’s a moral boosting experience for employees to participate as a group, in helping others. The last few years have been tough for community non-profits when it comes to raising money. It feels good to make even the slightest difference by offering support or space to hold events, and helping charities get the word out about their organization.”
The Living Room has been participating in Eat Your Art Out Chandler since 2012.

“Guests that dine with us and meet friends, appreciate knowing a portion of their check is going directly to Eat Your Art Out. The Ambassadors involved with Chandler Center for the Arts greet guests and are available to answer any questions about the organization and collect donations.”

The ambassadors are volunteers who have signed up through CCA to be a restaurant host ambassador or a table host. Table hosts commit to bringing three to six of their friends, colleagues or family members together to dine on the event day. If guests visit one of the participating restaurant and they aren’t a part of a party, they are greeted by one of the restaurant host ambassadors.

Envelopes are passed around to gather information so guests can enter a free raffle. If they want to donate a few dollars to the cause, they can put it in the raffle envelope at that time. Donations are always welcome, but not mandatory.

“Our volunteer arts ambassadors are extremely important to the success of the event. We’d love to get as many ambassadors as we can get,” says Judi Johnson the marketing coordinator for CCA. “Eat Your Art Out Chandler was inspired by the opportunity to go beyond the walls of the Chandler Center for the Arts and expand our strong partnerships with restaurants in the community to provide a win-win day for Chandler. Everyone can participate by just eating out. The restaurants win by bringing new customers into their establishments on a slower day of the week. The Community wins by having arts programs for children and headline performances.”

The funding from Eat Your Art Out Chandler supports education and outreach programs at CCA, which serve over 4,500 youth each year, and their free summer concert series, which serves over 4,000 patrons each summer. The CCA is jointly owned and utilized by the City of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District, and the cost of operation and center maintenance is shared by the both the city and school district.

“While we are a City of Chandler and Chandler Unified School District building, our artistic and outreach programs are privately supported. The Chandler Center for the Arts receives no direct appropriations for artistic programming. Our appropriations must be applied only to the maintenance and operation of the actual building,” says Johnson.

Ticket sales and other earned income covers only part of their programming expenses, which means they rely on donations in order to deliver quality arts programs at an affordable cost to the public.

The CCA has been around since 1989 and their mission is to make visual and performing arts available to the entire Chandler population; to become a creative force and an educational resource for the community; and to harness the economic vitality of the arts.
“The Chandler Center for the Arts is a terrific local venue that brings world-class entertainment to
the community and supports creative kids programs,” says Watson.
Foodies, this is the time to gather your friends and hit the streets of Chandler to enjoy an excellent meal in one of the participating restaurants. Turn an ordinary Tuesday night into something spectacular with good food, great company and maybe even a glass of wine. And don’t skimp on the dessert, after all, I’m pretty sure calories don’t count when it’s for charity! So go ahead and Eat Your Art Out Chandler!
Learn more about CCA, Eat Your Art Out and the participating restaurants at ChandlerCenter.org.
Submit your favorite nonprofit organization, or a special person involved in the community, for our Giving Back column, to MichelleMGuerrero@live.com