Well, we gave it our best effort….and we heard from the Commissioners that many of you did indeed contact them (THANK YOU!!!) to express your support. While we didn’t get the 9 years we were hoping for, we did get 5 years!! That’s certainly good…..five years of focusing on arts programming instead of packing and unpacking…..five years of growing our workshops and classes instead of searching for a place to call home…..five years of making the Blue Ridge ArtSpace a totally indispensable part of our community!
Five years is good….very good! And our 5 years doesn’t even start until April 15, 2015 so we actually can look forward to more than five years in this location.
We are very grateful for the many kind and complimentary words which were said about the Arts Council and the Blue Ridge ArtSpace by our County Commissioners at this morning’s meeting. To have progressed in just over a year from stripping off wallpaper, sanding, painting, and all the other mess and chaos of renovations to the place we are today is something we ALL can be very proud of. If we can do that much in only 15 months….just think what we can do in the next 69 months!!!
Final approval of our lease will take place on Tuesday, August 19th. We hope you will take time to thank our Commissioners for their support. And we particularly hope you will be a big part of helping the Blue Ridge ArtSpace and the Watauga County Arts Council thrive and grow as we continue to work toward….”Making the ARTS a Presence in Our Community!”
Following is the request we submitted:
To: Deron Geouque, Watauga County Manager
From: Watauga County Arts Council
Cherry Johnson, Executive Director
Date: July 23, 2014
The Watauga County Arts Council would like to be included on the August 5, 2014 Meeting Agenda of the Watauga County Commissioners to request that the lease between the Arts Council and the Watauga County Commissioners for the building located at 377 Shadowline Drive in Boone be renewed. Our current lease is set to expire on April 15, 2015.
In May of 2013, having just finalized our lease with the Watauga County Commissioners, the Watauga County Arts Council repaired and updated the building. With the assistance of over forty volunteers, we have invested over $23,000 in improving the facility. A significant portion of this was offset by donations from area businesses totaling almost $9,000. The lease was finalized in early May, 2013 and we were able to hold our Grand Opening on June 8, 2013.
Since then the Blue Ridge ArtSpace has hosted nearly sixty gallery exhibitions showcasing the work of artists of all ages and from all parts of the community. We have begun our visual arts workshops and have been able to present ten very successful workshops for community members plus a children’s drawing class which meets weekly. We have processed over two hundred sixty sales through our Gift Shop which features the work of over seventy local artists. Through our partnership with the Community Music School, we have been the site of over nine hundred hours of music lessons to date. We have also presented six workshops designed to advance the entrepreneurial skills of our working artists through a partnership with Handmade in America and Watauga County Economic Development Commission.
We have hosted monthly 2nd Saturday Celebrations of the Arts featuring openings for all the gallery exhibitions and over seventy artist demonstrations. We have also held our first arts festival and hosted a variety of meetings including the monthly AWE (Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs) meetings and the High Country Potters Guild meetings.
The Blue Ridge ArtSpace has already become the hub of community arts activities for Watauga County. As we continue to develop our programming this trend will undoubtedly continue.
Therefore, in order to continue to offer a wealth of arts-related programming to our community, the Watauga County Arts Council would like to request that our current lease be renewed for a term of nine (9) years, which we understand to be the maximum length of time which is allowable under state law without the lease having to be treated as a sale. We would like to propose that the primary terms of the existing lease in regards to usage, insurance, etc. remain the same as those of our current lease.