From the Publisher

For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

—Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate

These words spoken at the 2021 inauguration have been repeated numerous times in voice and print because of their universal insight and application. It’s my hope that we not only remember them, but that we live them.

I look forward to the day when the pandemic no longer looms over us. While there has been progress in vaccinations, we still have a long way to go. The heart of our magazine is in our communities and with the restaurants, retail businesses, nonprofits, and individuals in the places we live. We feel their pain not only in empathy, but in congruity as we work together to make it through the difficulties presented by the pandemic. We’re stronger together when we support one another.

Perhaps you’ve seen that we’ve organized a GoFundMe campaign. For months, we’ve been contributing to other campaigns, grateful we’ve been in a position to do so. At the same time, we’ve been very proactive in implementing actions to sustain our business. But even with those efforts, the length of the pandemic and its effects have been detrimental. Our campaign addresses not only the needs of our company, but the need to support our communities when they need us most.

Organizing a GoFundMe campaign was a difficult decision because we didn’t want to take away from the campaigns of others in our communities. But we realized that not taking care of ourselves would not serve them well. It’s like flight attendants directing you to put on your own mask before helping someone else. So we started the campaign and made the commitment to not only continue our regular local business support, but to also pay forward the support we receive by way of donating an equivalent amount of advertising space. If we receive $25,000 in contributions, we will donate $25,000 in advertising. If we receive $50,000 in contributions, we will donate $50,000 in advertising. We’re determined to get through this and to ensure as many as possible come out the other end with us.

As always, this Madison Essentials issue is a light on many great stories, including the start of a new arts series. Artists support one another across state borders, so it makes sense that we do the same by highlighting some artists in nearby states.

See the light and be the light. We look forward to being there with you.

Go to and search Madison Essentials to learn more about; share; and, if you so feel inclined, contribute to our campaign.

Amy Johnson