The Roanoke arts scene gets its second shake-up within a week, with this unfortunate announcement sent minutes ago from the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. According to the Arts Council website, the organization had four employees.
The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge Announces a Continuation of its Commitment to the Arts and a Transition to a Volunteer Staff
The Board of Directors of the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge reports that due to a challenging financial situation, a decision has been made to reexamine its core functions and to reorganize to an all volunteer organization. The Board believes that the work of the Arts Council is critically important to the community, so the organization will continue to function as a volunteer organization using the various skills of its existing board members. Over the next month, the volunteer-lead Arts Council will carefully examine its current programs and services as well as assessing future funding options to help address the key programs/services provided to the arts and cultural community in the region.
The board regretfully has made the decision to release the current staff while funding opportunities are pursued. The board is extremely grateful to the staff who have all worked tirelessly to uplift the mission of the Arts Council and provide necessary services to the community in light of these difficult economic times.
The Board has appointed Vern Danielsen, a current Board member, to serve as the Interim Executive Director of the Council. Mr. Danielsen will handle the day-to-day activities of the Council and will work with the Board in its Strategic Planning efforts. Wayne Strickland, President of the Arts Council, stated “the Board is pleased to have Mr. Danielsen serve as our Interim Executive Director as the Board evaluates its work in the future. Vern has worked in this region for several decades and has a commitment to ensuring the arts and cultural organizations in the region thrive in the future.”
For 36 years the Arts Council has worked diligently to advocate for arts and cultural organizations in the region as well as support the work of individual artists. Some of the important projects the Council has undertaken over the years include:
- Preparation of Blueprint 2000 (a guide for arts and cultural organizations on working collaboratively to promote the arts in the region and assessing alternative funding opportunities)
- Sponsoring legislative meetings with State and local officials to advocate for arts and cultural organizations
- Conducting economic impact analyses of the arts and culture in the region to highlight its economic importance
- Establishing Roanoke Youth Arts Connections
- Pursuing its signature events – the Kendig Awards and Downtown Living
- Establishment of the GAP program (a donor sponsored program which provided grants to individual artists)
- Developing a comprehensive Arts and Cultural Calendar
- International Cultural Exchanges
The Board is committed to having the Arts Council continue its work to support the arts and culture in the region and looks forward to continued discussions with the community in regards to critical services that it provides to the area.
The current members of the Board include:
- Wayne Strickland, President
- Terry O’Shaughnessy, Vice President
- Kim Smith Ferguson, Treasurer
- Scott Crawford
- Frank Flippin
- Vern Danielsen
- Bill Morris
- Amy Moorefield
- Stephen Pendergrass
- Christopher Walters