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Highland County Arts Council

Mission: The mission of the Highland County Arts Council (Arts Council) is to promote the arts and to provide cultural enrichment to the community.

Community Need: With exception of the annual performances the Arts Council organizes and financially support for students at the Highland School, there is no group that consistently can offer a regular program of performances by regionally and nationally recognized artists in a variety of styles.  It is this gap in the cultural opportunities for the Highland community and residents that live nearby that the Arts Council seeks to fill.  With its partnership with the Highland Center the Council will transform the space into a quality environment that artists and audiences will welcome.  It will be the only such public space in the Highland County and the immediate area.

Primary Activities: The Arts Council has a space at the Highland Center that is available for artists or arts groups to use at little or no cost.  It annually organizes nine exhibitions with receptions for the artists at the Highland Library.  It organizes and promotes the arts and photography competition at the Highland County Fair.  It provides a string and a drama camp during the summers.  It gives scholarships to local students who are attending summer camps in the arts or going on to study in an arts field after graduation from Highland High School. It provides resources and recruits performers for an annual performance at the Highland Schools.  It organizes and operates an Artists Weekends and an exhibition and sale of their work.  It recruits regional and local performers for a series of performances at the Highland Center.  It has joined with the Highland Center to secure the funds to transform the large space at the Center into an environment that allows for a greater variety of activities, including arts performances and exhibitions.  The Council also organizes and promotes workshops and classes by local and regional arts instructors.

Constituents Served: Their services are available to anyone who lives in the community or who is within driving distance and can attend the programs, receptions, etc.  Their work with the County Fair is open to a wider community.  The Artists Weekend is an ideal combination of local artists and artists from across Virginia and beyond.  In 2017, the number of people served by the Arts Council were 453 students and 909 adults.  It is important to remember that the population of the Highland County is approximate 2500.

Program Details: Highland County is fairly isolated and its population (the smallest of any county in Virginia) does not have easy access to performances by regional and national performers.  The Arts Council’s programs aim to correct that situation by offering monthly programs at the Highland Center as well as supporting performances at the Highland Schools.  The increase in attendance for July to November in 2017, demonstrates that they are meeting a need.  The proposal for 2018-19 will increase the number of opportunities and the quality of performances.

To expand their activities and raise their profile within the community, The Arts Councils plans to pursue partnerships and continue to build stronger relationships with community organization like the tourism council, the chamber of commerce, the public library, the local radio station, and the Highland Center.

Amount Requested: $3,500

Operating Budget: $22,350

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