Stanly County Arts Council celebrates 50th anniversary

A commemorative anniversary exhibit is open to the public

Arts Council Board Chairman David Cartrette cuts a ribbon at the exhibit’s grand opening last week. (Stanly County Arts Council)

ALBEMARLE — The Stanly County Arts Council commemorated its 50th anniversary last week with a grand opening of a new retrospective exhibit at the Stanly County History Center.

Unveiled by the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce in a ribbon-cutting event on March 27, the new exhibit — “Fifty Years of Cultivating Creativity” — will be open through the summer.

The free display documents the efforts of local art organizations and Stanly County artists, as well as the success stories and the NC Music Hall of Fame exhibits for Lou Donaldson and Kellie Pickler.

“We’re very happy to be here today,” Chamber Board Chairman Wil Huneycutt said in an introduction prior to the ribbon cutting. “I just want to thank the Arts Council for being members, and for all that the volunteers and supporters do to support the arts in our community. It’s a very important part of our community and the Chamber of Commerce is very appreciative of that, so thank you very much.”

The Stanly Arts Council was established on April 1, 1974, and has served a mission to encourage and promote cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout the county.

Arts Council Board Chairman David Cartrette told event attendees that having a new exhibit at the Stanly County History Center was a top priority for the council’s board of directors and the executive director when they started planning for 2024.

“The focus of the exhibit is primarily and correctly on the arts organizations that call Stanly County home, and secondly to highlight the role of the Arts Council as a means to cultivate creativity,” Cartrette said. “Arts organizations such as the Uwharrie Players, the Stanly County Concert Band, the Stanly County Chorale, the Stanly Arts Guild, and many others have provided artifacts for the displays that demonstrate their own unique histories.”

The council chairman mentioned the importance of the county having an arts guild for visual artists and a concert association that brings professional bands to town, also citing the cultural benefits of having a concert band, a chorale, a ballet organization, and two theater groups that present comedies, musicals and dramas.

“That these organizations exist is a clear indication that the arts in Stanly County is a team effort and largely a volunteer one,” Cartrette continued. “For a county of our size and population, we are quite fortunate to have such diverse arts organizations. As you will see as you take a look at the exhibits, all of the outside cases visually describe each of these organizations’ missions and histories. In the center, you can learn more about the role of the Arts Council itself. In many ways, we are a quiet supporter of the aforementioned organizations and several other entities.”

The new exhibit can be viewed during the Stanly County History Center’s regular hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, as well as 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month; the center is located at 157 North Second Street in Albemarle.