In the last two years, the Chatham Arts Council introduced a new logo, new brand, new mission focus, and new website. As we enter the new fiscal year, there’s even more new, minty freshness to report.
We recently moved to a new location while continuing to strengthen our presence in the county through programs that “invest in artists and educate kids through the arts”. A few weeks ago the we hosted an Open House and Annual Meeting and we highlighted the variety of arts experiences we’re providing to the county.
A bright “multi-colored carpet” of chalk led to the Chatham Arts Council’s new office at 118 West Street in the county seat of Pittsboro. Current and former board members, artists, donors, and educators from across the county walked through a kaleidoscope of bubbles and ClydeFEST T-shirts and games on the front yard. Visitors toured the council’s new space and learned about how we’re nurturing creative minds.
The pilot year of the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative was a big focus of the day. In the center hallway, a gallery of photographs captured artist residencies at local schools. Students, teachers, and administrators from Virginia Cross Elementary, North Chatham Elementary, Moncure, SAGE Academy, Bonlee Elementary and J.S. Waters Elementary schools benefitted from a variety of performances, professional development, and school work that enhanced the curriculum. Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director of the Chatham Arts Council shared moving stories of the impacts felt by students and educators. Big thanks are due to NC Arts Council, Chatham County, Chatham County Schools, Chatham Park Investors, Chatham Homes Realty and individual donors whose donations made these residencies possible.
“The Chatham Arts Council has put several years of preparation into our Artists-in-Schools initiative. These allow the arts to meaningfully impact students and give the council the widest reach in this large county.” said Gina Harrison, board chair. “The arts council is thrilled to be working with such distinguished teaching artists as Mike Wiley, EbzB Productions, Shabutaso, and Geraud Staton. We honor the dedicated, creative educators in the Chatham County Schools system, too.” Harrison added, “This is the beginning of a dynamic collaboration that can grow every year.”
2016 marks the 15th year that the Chatham Arts Council will present our signature event, ClydeFEST. So it deserved its own room. In the ClydeFEST room, brightly colored photos of smiling youngsters showed highlights from this unique, place-based “kids carnival of folk art fun”. Decorative, sculptural “critters” made from wood and found objects such as bottle caps, tennis balls, plastic flowers and lots of glitter by the festival’s namesake Clyde Jones, stood watch.
Artists Make Everything Better
Providing music for the Open House and Annual Meeting were Northwood High School students Hudson Moore and Haley Poythress. Joey Howell followed on guitar. Enjoying the music and food were local theatre artist Serena Ebhardt, and visual artists Onicas Gaddis, Marcelle Pachnowski, and Diane DeBardeleben. Performing artist Victoria Chall joined the crowd as did author, educator, and creativity coach Michele Berger, among many others.
All the visitors were eligible to participate in an election of new board members. As a result, the Chatham Arts Council is eager to welcome to the board Selbe Bartlett, a resident of Moncure and vice-president with AllScripts, who manages international teams and focuses on strategic planning and financial management; Elisabeth Lewis Corley an award-winning poet, and a producer, actor, director, and screenwriter for film and stage, who founded the Atlanta Shakespeare Company; Jon Spoon who currently serves as the Small Business Center Director for Chatham County where he assists potential entrepreneurs and existing small business owners, and Sue Szary a textile artist and business owner of Twin Birch Products and against his will studio in Siler City. These four new members will begin their terms at the first meeting of the board in July.