07/31/05 — Arts Council discusses ways to raise money

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Arts Council discusses ways to raise money

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on July 31, 2005 2:03 AM

When you think of the Arts Council of Wayne County, a number of topics may come to mind: visual art, classes for children and adults, assistance to area arts groups, special projects and programs, and, of course, the big art center on the corner of Spence Avenue and Ash Street.

Add to that mix money.

The need to increase the number of dollars coming into the Arts Council was the focus of the Council's board meeting Thursday at the art center.

Last fiscal year, the Arts Council received about $60,000 less than anticipated, Executive Director Alice Strickland said.

Overall, "our shortfall was greater than in many years past," she said.

Part of this is due to the Arts Council now having a larger home than when it shared Herman Park Center with the Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Department.

Another reason is that fund-raising projects did not have the hoped-for results.

"We had some great, successful programs last year, but we didn't net what we expected," Mrs. Strickland said.

A project that did do well -- the membership mailing campaign -- needs to be bigger, she added. Letters were mailed to the 2,500 people on the Arts Council's mailing list. The goal was to raise $30,000, and the Arts Council came close, receiving about $29,000.

"Even though $30,000 met our budget last year, it is not nearly what we need," she said.

The goal for the drive this fiscal year is $100,000.

"It's a tremendous increase, but I've been told it's achievable," she said, adding, "With the help of all of the people in this room, we will achieve it or be in trouble."

The board discussed the need to do more than mail letters and the need to change the name from membership drive to something like sponsorship.

Among the reasons that the Arts Council needs to address money is because more staff is needed. Currently, the staff consists of one full-time person, Mrs. Strickland; a part-time person, and a contract book keeper who often donates her time.

Rentals will be one way the Arts Council can raise money, but that will require more staff.

Renting the building will be easier to do once the first floor has been renovated, Mrs. Strickland said.

Right now, it can be decorated for events and look rather nice, but "until it's finished, we won't have the upscale, convenient facility we want."

Mrs. Strickland proposed some fund-raising ideas, including Feast in the East, bringing back the Saints Alive concert that featured local church musicians, and the annual juried art show, among others.

Good news included receiving more money from the city and county. The city increased its annual contribution by $7,000 to a total of $20,000 and the county increased its by $5,000 to a total of $20,000.

In addition, the Grassroots money provided by the General Assembly may increase this year, Mrs. Strickland said.

Mrs. Strickland suggested the following as priorities: stabilizing the operating income, increasing the Arts Council's endowment and thinking about renovating the art center's first floor.

"I have budgeted for more salaries, but I will not hire until the income will permit it," she added.