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In its 60th year, Waterworks Visual Arts Center ready to launch legacy fundraising campaign

SALISBURY — Waterworks Visual Arts Center celebrated its 60th anniversary Tuesday night, and because it’s a “legacy” year, the organization also announced plans for a legacy fundraising campaign.

Paula Dibley will head the campaign. The last big campaign ended in 2002 and raised $2.8 million toward renovations and construction leading to the current 15,000-square-foot Waterworks home at 123 E. Liberty St.

Waterworks owes its name to its onetime location at the old Salisbury Water Department building at 1 Water St.

Waterworks started as the Rowan Art Guild on April 1, 1959, with 26 charter members. The visual arts center provides rotating exhibits of works by regional and local artists and art education opportunities for youth and adults.

Through its exhibits, classes and tours, Waterworks sees some 21,000 people a year.

Waterworks is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums as a noncollecting art museum and is only one of 12 accredited in North Carolina.
Tuesday night’s celebration was held in the galleries, and those who attended were able to visit art classes in progress upstairs.
Waterworks Executive Director Anne Scott Clement recognized 10 couples or individuals who have been Waterworks members continuously since 1980-81, the period during which Waterworks first went electronic.
Clement noted the Waterworks membership records go back only that far and she is sure there are members who have supported the organization even longer.
Those longstanding members honored Tuesday night included Sara and Bob Cook, English and Elizabeth Cook, Jack Errante, Gerry Hurley, Patsy Rendleman, Jane Gamewell, Norma and Charles Goldman, Susan and Edward Norvell, Barbara and David Setzer, and Marna and Charles Steinman.
In addition to its three annual rotating exhibits and educational opportunities, Waterworks has a museum gift store and library with more than 2,000 art-related holdings that have been cataloged with the Rowan Public Library.
“We’re going to be accessible to a lot more people this way,” Clement said.
The museum has free admission and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Through May 18, Waterworks is featuring  “Unity Through Art: An Exhibition of Cultural Narrative,” which has separate gallery displays for works of Gliser Fuentes (“One Mind, Many Dreams”), Jamaul Smith (“Heels & Steel”) and Nico Amortegui (Colorful Memories”), along with Latinx El Grupo De Los 10 and “Where Is Home?”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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