By Eleanor H. Oakley
President and CEO
This time of year we think of new beginnings, but April marks the start of the last quarter of most non-profits’ fiscal years (and many school calendars). These final three months are filled with programming, as most performing and presenting groups close out their seasons by the end of June. Here in Wake County, we get Art in Bloom at the NC Museum of Art April 7-10, Artsplosure May 20-22 and the NC Symphony’s Beethoven concert on June 17, to name only a few examples. Spring fund raisers also abound: CAM Raleigh on April 9, and the Imagination Ball at Marbles and Divas at Raleigh Little Theatre on April 30.
At United Arts, we are in the final months of our 2015-2016 Artists in Schools programs, which includes the last of our pilot year of high school master classes. Fifty-nine more Artists in Schools events will take place in Wake County schools April through June. Four more master classes will take place at Athens Drive, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Holly Springs and Sanderson High Schools.
We also have two Learning Lunches for the arts community on our schedule. On April 14, Doug Borwick will be with us to speak on his new book, Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts Indispensable. Doug, from Winston-Salem, is a leading authority on community engagement in the arts.
On May 29, Raleigh and Wake County’s Arts Learning Community on ADA Inclusion will present their report on things learned during the first year of this new venture, a collaboration between the Office of Raleigh Arts and United Arts. Representatives from the sponsoring agencies, plus participants from Arts Access, Artspace, Arts Together, CAM Raleigh. Cary Visual Art, Pinecone, Raleigh Little Theatre, Sertoma Arts Center and Visual Art Exchange, have met monthly since August to discuss and identify ways to make the arts more meaningfully accessible to everyone. Beyond wheelchair ramps and assistive listening devices, what else would increase access to the arts for patrons with disabilities? The group will report on their experiences, as the sponsoring agencies work on expanding the group for the next fiscal year.
Meanwhile, United Arts—as well as other arts groups—are deep into planning for the new fiscal year. At United Arts, we have received more than 50 applications for programming grant funding for 2016-2017 and 22 applications from individual artists for funding professional development endeavors. Sixteen new artists have applied to become a part of our Artists in the Schools directory. Panel review of all these applications take place in our offices between late April and early June, a total ten panel meetings over those weeks. Board members, other community volunteers and staff will spend significant hours working through these applications.
We look forward to seeing you at some of the many exciting Spring arts offerings! Take time in the midst of your own planning to enjoy what the season has to offer and connect with others in the community!