Tuesday, March 31, 2009

call to action: miller lite ride for the arts

If you know me, you know I love my bicycle. Once I made the conscious decision to not have a car, my bicycle became one of my best friends. Every spring, as the snow begins to melt I start daydreaming of peddling aimlessly for hours on a sunny day through Milwaukee's beautiful parks and bike trails. I even rode late into the season this year, participating in one of the most fun bike events of my life.

Why such growing enthusiasm for pedal pushing?

Last June I did something I doubted I would be able to do so early in the season: I rode 50 miles for the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. Some people say that their butt hurts just thinking about doing that -- luckily I have padded shorts. Why did I "torture" myself before a full summer of riding? Because living in Wisconsin I can only bike part of the year, but I can enjoy the performing arts year 'round thanks to the generosity of the United Performing Arts Fund.

I am a proud season ticket holder for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and I try to catch a Milwaukee Rep production at least one or two times a year. I am always open to checking out any performance around town by the many innovative arts groups UPAF funds.

As an adult I enjoy the performing arts, but I would not have this love for them if it had not been instilled in me as a child. Granted I came from an art-friendly home, but I also had the opportunity to experience arts groups in the many communities I lived in as a child. I did not grow up in Milwaukee, but I believe increased exposure the arts is one of the critical solutions to the educational crises we face in this city.

We all know it's a bad economy and unfortunately it does not look like another WPA is in the cards to solve this. Arts funding is being cut and even UPAF itself has reduced its fundraising goal this year. That's why I am committing myself to INCREASING my personal fundraising goal this year. I am shooting to raise $1000 for the performing arts in Milwaukee (I find this appropriate as well, because I am riding with the FUEL Milwaukee team, a group that in its several incarnations, has exposed me not only to arts groups, but some of my best friends who are also arts-minded people). At first the number seems daunting, but when I realize that I have nearly 350 Facebook friends, asking less than a third of them, 100 people at $10 each, puts the goal in perspective.

Will you fund my $20/mile goal?

Donating through the First Giving site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.

Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward the site to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

I just got my bike back today from Cory the Bike Fixer. I look forward to posting ride AND fundraising updates here.

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