University of Mount Olive seeks fine arts series
By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on April 23, 2014 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The University of Mount Olive is looking for interested supporters of the arts who want to see more fine arts events in southern Wayne County.
Mary Kerstetter, volunteer chair of the newly created Fine Arts Circle, is helping to create a fund that can help bring in more speakers and more performing artists while providing financial support to current programs on campus.
"Down here at the southern end of the county, we haven't emphasized the cultural arts like I think we need to," Mrs. Kerstetter said. "What we're trying to do is set up a fund that would be outside the normal budgetary expenses.
"If there was an extraordinary art gallery opportunity, then we can bring them in if it was outside of the university's price range normally," she said.
Mrs. Kerstetter, wife of UMO President Dr. Philip Kerstetter, compared it to the fine arts equivalent of the Trojan Club, which supports the university's athletic department.
The fund could be used to buy equipment for the music department, for example, if the university ever considers starting an orchestra, or it could help purchase supplies for the art department.
A newly formed drama club at the university or an extension of the university's Literary Festival could also be partially supported through the fund.
"We have talented faculty and students here, and it's shown more and more each day," she said.
The Fine Arts Circle program had a kick-off in March to recruit sponsors. The standard donation in order to be a founding member is a pledge of $250 annually for four years, and so far, the university has had some luck in finding those dedicated to the fine arts.
An annual $250 donation, however, isn't necessary to donate to the fund. Any amount will be gratefully accepted, she said.
"Phil and I have always believed that the university becomes visible through two ways -- through athletics and fine arts," Mrs. Kerstetter said.
If individuals donate money to the circle, they can also specify where the funds can go -- to literature, music or visual arts.
The end-goal would be an extended fine arts program that could better coordinate with programs throughout Goldsboro as well as bring in more traffic from down U.S. 117, she said.
The fund would be administered through the president's office at the university.
Mrs. Kerstetter said the Fine Arts Circle would act more as a supplemental fund and would not grow into an entire organization, such as the Foundation of Wayne Community College.
Throughout the next few weeks at the university's fine arts events, such as the choral concert and symphonic band concert, the Fine Arts Circle will be promoted.
"All of these events are free events. They are not money-making events, and we need to support the arts financially," Mrs. Kerstetter said.
A letter-writing campaign will also be conducted in May.
Interested donors can contact Mrs. Kerstetter at 919-920-3955.