Long Time Volunteer Retires from The Highland County Arts Council


At the end of 2022, the Highland County Arts Council saw a long-time member retire from its ranks.   Caroline Smith retired from the Arts Council after serving as a volunteer member for 25 years.  She saw a lot of growth in the organization during that time.

“The biggest change has been that we started off as a very small group, always worried about money,” says Smith. “We had a generous person who made up about half of our budget for many, many years.  I guess the way that we’ve changed is that we’ve started applying for grants from foundations and we have really deeply developed our cooperative relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and The Highland Center and we’re really striving to be, you know, an economic force.  We are trying to hire somebody to help us run events and we certainly, as an organization, help The Highland Center invest in creating the center itself as a very good art space.  Those are the biggest things.”

The Highland County Arts Council was organized as a non-profit to promote arts for both adults and children in Highland County.  It began in 1992.   The group worked to bring art events into Highland to help people avoid long distance drives to attend events elsewhere.

“Probably the biggest thing I’ve done is to get drama camps started and our adult theatrical productions, during the years,” says Smith.  “When we moved here, both of my children had been very active in a community theatre and when they moved up here, of course, they found kids who thought they might like some theatre.  So, I approached the Arts Council and asked if we could put on plays under their sponsorship and they said, ‘Of course,’ and we did a play and then I was invited to be on the Arts Council.”

Now, the Highland County Arts Council sponsors a number of regular events.  It holds an art group on Mondays, an outdoor artist weekend, art events in the schools, classes through the Highland Arts Academy, the monthly second Saturday concert series and it also coordinates the art and photography program at the fair.

“We’re making teams and we at the Arts Council are working to make teams everywhere we go,” says Smith.  “I think that we really embody a lot of the spirit of Highland County in that we work together and we reach out to other people and try to make things work.  I guess our goal is to try to help support the economic future of Highland County by bringing people into the county to, you know, do something fun and find out what a wonderful place it is.”

Visit www.highlandcountyartscouncil.org to learn about upcoming events and to sign up for the organization’s newsletter.

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

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather