Leaders of Columbia County Arts Inc. are seeking more supporters of the arts.
The nonprofit organization currently is holding a membership drive to add members and sponsors.
"Our mission is to promote the arts and arts organizations in Columbia County," group president Dwain Shaw said. "We can only do that through the kind donations of members and sponsors."
After three years of inactivity, Columbia County Arts Inc. was reformed in 2008 with the goal of supporting and promoting the arts, artists and arts groups in the county.
The umbrella organization supports artists and arts leagues by providing money to member groups through the Members' Grant Fund to help defray the costs of putting on events, including performances and art shows.
"There's a lot of different reasons for the drive, but all the money goes back to the arts," said Robert Thurman, president-elect.
Arts council leaders are hoping to enlist more individual members, but also want more county arts groups to join.
"The biggest thing is there are a lot of arts groups in Columbia County that nobody knows about," Thurman said.
Member arts groups get represented on the Columbia County Arts Inc. Web site, in addition to having the opportunity to apply for member grants.
Shaw said the new direction of the arts council will hopefully include more community arts events, including the upcoming Art in the Park in May. Thurman said arts council leaders want to put on a large event quarterly to feature many arts groups at one time.
Shaw said arts council leaders also are seeking "cornerstone" business sponsors to donate at least $1,000. These sponsors would be given recognition at each arts council event.
"They are the ones that will be splashed up with all advertising," Shaw said, "They'll be well-promoted in everything the council promotes."
One thing Columbia County is missing, Shaw said, is a venue to showcase visual arts. With enough support and a long-term plan, that, too, can change.
"I have a vision that we will one day have a Columbia County center for the visual arts," Shaw said.
Shaw said membership should be seen as an investment in the community, because strong arts programs raise the quality of life for those involved.
For information or to join the arts council, visit www.columbiacountyarts.org.
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