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Cabarrus Arts Council drive progressing

The Cabarrus Arts Council’s corporate fund drive is more than half way to its $98,000 goal.

Companies have pledged almost $60,000 since the fund drive, headed by retired Cannon School headmaster Dick Snyder, began in October.

“We hope to have the drive completed. … There are a couple of larger donations that may take slightly longer to complete,” said Noelle Scott, arts council executive director.

“Dick Snyder’s commitment to the arts and to our community have made him a wonderful fund drive head, and he has worked energetically on our behalf. In addition, our board members have been working hard at telling local businesses about what the Arts Council does in our community, and corporate leaders have responded with generous gifts.”

The Arts Council will follow up the corporate drive with its annual fundraising breakfast for individual donors in March.

This is an important year for the Arts Council because of the upcoming renovation of the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse to include three art galleries and a performing arts theatre.

The facility and programming planned for it will add an entirely new dimension to the arts opportunities available to the community.

The Arts Council’s first exhibition in the new galleries will open March 26 featuring works by Noyes Capehart Long. The exhibition, “The Way of the Cross,” will feature a suite of 14 woodcuts depicting the final journey of Jesus down the Via Dolorosa.

A retired Appalachian State University professor and author, Long has had works in the Smithsonian Museum, Whitney Museum of Art, Mint Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

The first major national touring exhibition, photographer Michael Cunningham’s “Queens: Portraits of Black Women and Their Fabulous Hair,” will follow May 21-June 29.

The black and white portraits are featured in a companion coffee table book and will be accompanied by essays by journalist George Alexander. A commercial photographer who lives in Washington, D.C., Cunningham also produced “Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats” and its accompanying coffee table book.

Artist talks, docent-led tours and educational workshops will all soon be part of the visual arts program.

New exhibition openings will frequently be tied to the Arts Council’s downtown Art Walks. The first two Art Walks organized by the Arts Council drew several hundred people in July and November.

A series of family performances will begin in the theatre this fall, with a full season of performing arts next year.

At the same time, long-established programs, such as the Students Take pART in the ARTs school performances, will continue. The Arts Council will also continue to reach out to minorities and newcomers in the community through programs such as the Latin Ballet of Virginia, arts-in-education residencies and performances and workshops in the Hispanic and Logan communities.

The Arts Council’s $335,000 budget includes donations from corporations, individuals, foundations and local government.

Members of the Board of Directors and staff refined their vision for the council’s new theatre and galleries at a retreat at Pity’s Sake Lodge.

Perry Mixter of Boone, a consultant who works with arts and other nonprofit organizations all over the state, led the group as it considered the opportunities and challenges presented by the new facilities in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse.

At the retreat, the group informally agreed that the Arts Council will take the time needed to plan for these new spaces. They decided to make 2007 the “year of the galleries” by offering a full schedule of art exhibitions with a festive grand opening in June. A few theatre performances will be offered in the fall of 2007. The official grand opening will take place in 2008 and kick off a full year of both adult and family performances.

“It is a pleasure to be asked to work with such a clearly well-run organization,” Mixter said. “It is exciting to work with the Cabarrus Arts Council leadership to determine a master plan for developing and implementing the new visual arts and theatre programs that will surely have such a major positive impact in Cabarrus County in the years ahead.”

An ARTS North Carolina grant partially funded the consultant for the retreat.

For information about the Cabarrus Arts Council, please call 704-920-ARTS (2787) or visit www.cabarrusartscouncil.org.

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