UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: The Roanoke Arts Commission will help complete a mural project at Garden City Center that’s being done by the Roanoke Art Mural Project. The project was begun in coordination with the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, but the Roanoke Art Mural Project is under the direction of Mim Young. A story in Thursday’s Virginia section about the closing of the Arts Council was unclear on these points. (Your blogger regrets the error.)
The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge will shut down for good on Dec. 15.
Two months ago the 36-year-old nonprofit dismissed its four employees and changed to an all-volunteer model. Board members said because of shrinking revenues the arts council no longer had the funding to cover payroll.
In the weeks that followed, the board determined they could neither raise enough funds nor muster the manpower needed to keep the arts council going, board member and interim executive director Vern Danielsen said Thursday.
They did manage to raise enough funds to allow the nonprofit to pay off its debts, he said, though it wasn’t easy. “Think of what it’s like to ask people to give you money to help you go out of business.” Danielsen declined to say how much the arts council owed creditors.
Other organizations have agreed to take over many of the arts council’s signature events and programs, Danielsen said. “What we’ve tried to do is not just vaporize the organization.”
The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau will be taking over the events calendar the arts council debuted on its website in February. Downtown Roanoke Inc. has taken over the Downtown Living Tour, with plans to expand it and make it more frequent, Danielsen said.