The Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Awards
Arts Council of Greenwood County
2008 Recipient for Arts Organization
The Arts Council of Greenwood County has proven that "the arts mean business" in its community. Operated by only two staff members, the Arts Council has grown tremendously since its incorporation in 1997. Now a major community leader, the Arts Council has 600 individual members, 26 member organizations and a $250,000 budget.
With a major renovation of the city's historic Federal Building under its belt, the Arts Council has proven that it is more than capable of fulfilling its mission to take a leadership role in community cultural planning and development for the benefit of existing organizations and for the support of new endeavors.
With the Arts Council's vision and funding from the Self Family Foundation, this massive effort took eight years and many steps to complete. Organizations and program needs were identified. Renovations of the 25,000 square-foot facility were planned and implemented. A $3.5 million campaign was carried out—without outside help. Moreover, the organization administered $800,000 in funding for renovations for the theater and $400,000 in funding for renovations to the museum.
The new Arts Center has led to an amazing transformation of its community and has encouraged additional uptown revitalization, resulting in approximately $8,000,000 in investments in the cultural district. A hospitality tax has been passed to support these projects, and the city has leveraged the development of the cultural district to obtain grants for the adjacent Emerald Triangle District.