Highland Arts Council Membership Meeting Open To Public

The Highland County Arts Council will have a membership meeting open to the public Sunday, and I spoke with Board member Donna Bedwell to learn more about it, and the organization itself.

“It’s an organization that has been around for about 27, 28 years in Highland. And their mission has always been to showcase the artists within the community and provide an opportunity for them to learn and to expand their awareness within their area.”

“And when I say artists, I’m talking about visual arts as well as musical artists. The county is extremely lucky in the wealth of artists that we have here. I think that the aesthetics of Highland, you know, our beauty is inspirational. I was really surprised one time when the Tourism Council did a questionnaire on why people come to the county, and I knew that there were a lot of artists that live here – I’m certainly married to a good photographer – but I was surprised to find out how many people come here to photograph, to paint, to write. The Arts Academy, we call it a tranquil environment for creative expression. And I think that that sums up pretty well what Highland County is to a lot of artists.”

She continued, “I’m really proud of the things that the Arts Council has accomplished in the last several years. The musical series that has really taken off in the last two years, and so we’ve started being very consistent with those concerts. That’s why this year we launched the Second Saturdays at Seven concert series, so that people can plan ahead and always know that on the second Saturday of any month at 7:00, we’re going to have a concert at The Highland Center.”

“Of course, the Arts Academy, we launched that last year and we had four workshops within a week at the last week of July. This year, we’re getting ready to launch our 2020 workshop season and we’ve expanded to two weeks so it’ll be the last week of July and the first week of August, and we now have seven workshops. The Artists’ Weekend that has been going on, I believe this is the 12th year. Last year we had 40 artists come in and paint outdoors with the beautiful scenery around, and then of course, the wet paint show that is hosted at The Highland Center, so that the general public can come in and see some of the creations of all of these artists. Drama camps, we support the Allegheny Mountains Strings program – I think that they’re just any number of opportunities. Right now, we have a ukulele class going on every Tuesday in February, and we had 11 people show up last Tuesday and so if we end up with a great little ukulele group that could get together once a month and just for the sheer pleasure of playing ukuleles, I think that that would just be a lot of fun and a great activity in the county.”

“We are going to have a membership meeting on February the 16th. It’s a Sunday at 2:00 in the afternoon. We have to pull the membership together to vote on a few small bylaw changes that we’re doing. But we really want to open it up to the general community as well, just simply because we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to showcase some of those artists within the area. So, we have individual artists who are bringing in, just pieces of their creativity of what they have created in the last year, so everything from, obviously there’s gonna be baskets there, I have to say that, but there’s going to be, you know, pottery and stained glass and culinary arts and floral arrangement and music and authors. We were surprised, (we) went to the public library here and asked for a list of all of the local authors and their books that the public library carried, so we’re going to have a sampling of those. And then of course, many of the artists and the authors and musicians and everything will be there too, to talk to the public. None of the items will be for sale – this is not a sales event. This is an exhibit – this is an opportunity for people to come and just once again witness the level of artistry and creativity that is obvious within this county.”

The Highland County Arts Council is a supporter of Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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