• Laurel Contributor

Chamber Grants for the Arts

by Donna Rhodes

The Highlands Chamber of Commerce is nurturing the resurgence of the local artists’ communit

Highlands is known for its visual beauty. Mother Nature is an outdoor art show open 24/7/365. Every moment boasts a new exhibition. Complementing the natural beauty of the Plateau is the work of fine local artists and craftspersons. The region has always been a haven for painting, pottery, jewelry, fiber-art, weaving, sculpture, folk art, and much more.

But like all endeavors, creating beauty has its challenges. Mother Nature’s nemesis is weather. An artist’s is the economy.

In the golden years, Highlands and Cashiers had a host of fine art and craft galleries. Then the recession hit. While the performing arts have recovered, visual arts are still struggling, though the energy and support of The Bascom is helping turn that around. Their Pop-up Art Program is absolute genius! In the meantime, what can we do to support what should be one of our strongest visitor attractions?

Mary Adair Trumbly, Executive Director of the Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center and chair of the Highlands Chamber of Commerce Advertising Grant Committee says, “Let’s breathe life back into the quality fine art that put us on the map. Go to Smitten or attend a Bascom Pop-up and buy something that brings you joy. Then just display it. It’s like anything else in your home. You bought it because you loved it. There is beauty and continuity in what you buy, because it reflects who you are. And isn’t that what art is? Beauty that connects you to your soul?”

Thanks to Mary Adair and her committee, the Chamber is infusing the arts with grant money.

Executive Director Bob Kieltyka says, “So far in the current fiscal year, the Chamber has approved a total of $18,500 in grants to support the arts in Highlands. The grants are specifically for advertising to promote programs that will attract visitors to Highlands from at least 50 miles away and beyond. The advertising grant program is open to all non-profit organizations in Highlands and is not limited exclusively to the arts. The list below and the $18,500 represent grants to arts & culture only. Grant applications are accepted twice a year – in January/February and again in June/July.”

This year’s award recipients in the arts are:

Highlands Playhouse – the 2019 summer season

Highlands Cashiers Chamber Music Festival – 38th Festival Season

Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center – the 2019 season

The Rotary Club Mountaintop – The 2019 Village Arts & Craft Shows in June and August

Take advantage of the Chamber’s Grants Program. Call for more information, (828) 526-2112.

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