Arts Council Retreat: The Council met in January to review its five-year plan and to evaluate the work from last calendar year.  The discussion of membership structure and fees as well as benefits for each category resulted in a call for a membership meeting on Sunday, February 16 at the Highland Center.

February 16 Membership Meeting: The meeting will take place at the Highland Center at 2 pm.  Local artists will display their work.  A short business meeting will discuss and vote on the new fee and benefit structure.  Refreshment and entertainment will be available.

Board Members: The Highland County Arts Council Board of Directors has nine members.   Lee Beasley, who was one of those who helped form the Arts Council and served on the board of director for many years, elected to retire from the Board in December.  The Directors considered possible replacements and decided at its January meeting to ask Rick Hill, musician and pastor of the Monterey Presbyterian Church, to join the Board.  He has accepted the call. 

Auditorium Improvements: The Arts Council continues its effort to make the Highland Center auditorium a viable performance space.  The immediate goal now is to raise the funds to replace the outdated and technically compromised lighting system.  The plans call for a couple of new hanging options and lights that can be focused and changed color remotely.  

Second Saturday at Seven: The Winter/Spring season begins February 8 with a performance by Scuffletown Band with John Whitlow and Marc Carraway.  Opening for Scuffletown will be Mountain Air.  

Maple Festival: The Council decided to experiment with providing entertainment on both Saturdays of the Maple Festival.  Working with the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, the Council has booked Tyler Hughes on March 14 and John Bullard on March 21 for 3 pm performances at the Center.  Admission will be by the Maple Festival keychain.  7 pm performances will be Bill Jenkins and the Virginia Mountain Boys on March 14 and After Jack on March 21.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Little Swiss Fund Grant:  The deadline for appling to be one of the technical interns is February 15. Gary Kirby will lead a set of interns through learning how to technically support performances at the Highland Center and in the use of the equipment the Council has secured for the auditorium space.  The grant will also allow for small stipends to the interns.

Art Exhibits at the Library: The current exhibit is of work by Highland High School students.  The new block class system has changed the approach to arts education at the school.  The exhibit gives evidence of the work that is being done and the growth of student artists.

Highland Arts Academy:  A four-week ukulele class taught by Rick Hill began the first week of February with 11 participants. Planning for the 2020 Arts Academy is in full swing. Due to the success and local support of the 2019 workshops, we are expanding with more workshops and an added week. Mark your calendars now for July 26 – August 7  for workshops in basketry, barn quilt painting, pottery, stained glass, painting with wood (marquetry), ecoprinting fiber art, and photography. Work on updating the website, www.highlandartsacademy.com is almost complete. Watch for special announcements when registration is open with discounts for Arts Council members.

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