A brainstorming session on cultivating the arts locally was the focus of a Columbia County Arts Inc. retreat Saturday.
Several ideas were discussed at the retreat, held at the Brandon Wilde clubhouse on Owens Road in Evans. Most of the ideas focused on holding bigger and better arts events, publicity and fund-raising.
Many praised the success of last October's Medieval Fest, and arts professionals and enthusiasts said they would like to see a similar event in the spring.
One suggestion was to hold arts performances during the opening of the county's new library and performing-arts complex next year.
Philip Hedgecoth, president-elect of Columbia County Arts and emcee for the retreat, handed out a sheet proposing a six-week festival but stressed that the idea was only in a preliminary phase.
Ideas for generating more publicity included creating an arts directory, brochures, starting a newsletter and publishing an arts column.
Hedgecoth said the ideas were good but required dedicated volunteers to implement them.
"People on the (arts board) can in no way do everything we talked about today," he said. "We need you."
As with most nonprofit groups trying to thrive in tough economic times, money was a big issue among many retreat participants.
Ideas for fund-raising focused on applying for more grant money and working more closely with local businesses, including ones in Richmond County.
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gordon Renshaw encouraged the arts board to think of Columbia County as part of a region and approach fund-raising that way.
"We've got some great resources that we can all benefit from," he said.
In other news, the introduction of an arts-board-sponsored summer arts camp was announced at the retreat. It will be June 7-11, possibly at Lewiston Elementary School. The camp will play host to pupils in second- through eighth-grades who will receive instruction in several arts disciplines.
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