History of the Arts Council


Caldwell Arts Council – A Brief Timeline

March 1976 – Caldwell Arts Council was organized and incorporated.  Located in the Fidelity Building in downtown Lenoir, Rebecca DeMarais – Director 1976-1979

1977 – Sofa Exchange Exhibit begun by Bernhardt Furniture later to become the Caldwell Visual Artist Competition. (The visual artist competition use to be the Sofa exhibit and Bernhardt gave a sofa for the first prize.   I think it was called an exchange because I think Bernhardt got the winning artwork.)

1978 – April began a programming committee for Artists-in-Schools, December moved into the current location at 601 College Ave.  Facility owned by the Broyhill Family Foundation

1979 – Quarterly Newsletter Tapestry was begun. Liza Plaster hired as Director and stays until Dec. 1989

1980 – CAC hired an artist in residence for semester long Middle School residencies, CAC took over management of the Lenoir Fall Festival.  Local funding was Lenoir $15,000, Caldwell County $2500, and Hudson $1250. Policy changed that exhibits to be hung by Arts Council and not by artists. (City of Lenoir use to give us $5000 per year for Sculpture and the rest were funds they gave us to run programming for the City of Lenoir. When the furniture industry crashed they stopped funding all non-profits but entered into a very supportive relationship with us in terms of services and help with the logistics and staff help with Sculpture and later Tucker's Gallery.  They have also stepped up for some one-time projects.)

1981 – Glenn Miller Orchestra performed, Factory Art Show was held in 8 furniture factories and featured workers art, 15% commission was put in place for all gallery sales.

1982 – Auction Fundraiser begun (for years the auction was are largest fundraiser and was a much loved event.  It was held both at the old women's club building and at the Civic Center.  We would have about 35-40 live auction items and then any number of silent auction items.  We served beer, wine and popcorn.  We should still have the box and paperwork stuff to track auction sales.)

1983 – Approval give to hire a secretary, Patrick Dougherty, sculptor is Artist-in-Residence in Happy Valley

1984 – Secretary hired 35hrs/week

1985 – United Arts Fund considered and board members go to statewide training on this

1986 – United Arts Fund begun,  Sculpture Celebration begun, Pig Weathervane purchased for CAC and begins the public sculpture collection

1987 – Fall Festival’s 10th year

1988 – No minutes found, First year of Beach Bash?

1989 – December Liza Plaster resigns, Sharon Osborne hired as director stays until early 1994

1990-94 – no minutes to be found; this was during the time Sharon Osborne was director.

1994 – Lee Carol Giduz hired as Director, Air Conditioning installed for first time.  

1995 – First Fax machine bought, 2 computers bought, kitchen remodeled, apply for Davenport School to become an A+ School and CAC hires their first drama teacher. (There is still a drama teacher at Davenport as of 2017.  It is only because of the Arts Council that Davenport became an A+ school.  We were very instrumental in nominating them and supporting them in the early years.  That support came jointly from the school system and Kenan Foundation.  To be an A+ school there had to be a drama teacher and the school system couldn't add a position ot one school that it couldn't add to all.  We, however could hire that teacher and did.  We did that for 2-3 years until the school system could absorb that position.)

1996 – 20th Anniversary Celebration Gala at CCB bank bldg., school endorses requirement that every child grades K-8th see at least one performance a year, TJ Reddy Mural project at Martin Luther King Jr. Center (the mural is in the large room inside MLK and Lee Carol thinks there is something in the lobby as well), Art-in-Healing Gallery at Caldwell Memorial opens

1997 – 10th Beach Bash, floors refinished

1998 – Caldwell Music Project organized for Caldwell County Schools – Etta Baker, Mike Cross, Puddingstone, Strictly Clean and Decent and Lenoir Sax Ensemble perform (That was a fabulous project and Kay and Patrick Crouch wrote the study guide for it.  There should still be a copy or 2 in the directors office. We did have another Caldwell Showcase for the schools a year or so before Lee Carol left.  Kay and Patrick also helped organize that but it wasn't as comprehensive as the first one.  The first was grant funded by the NC Arts Council), Christmas tour of Homes

1999 – “Dinofest” – Sculpture exhibition and theater performances for Caldwell County schools, Satie’s Gift Gallery opens at Arts Council, Smart Start Art sends residency artists to day care centers, Sculpture Celebration has over 100 sculptors. (The Day Care program was also grant funded and was a major undertaking.  We basically had artists in residence who drove all over the county going from Day Care to Day Care.  It was a great program and logistical nightmare.)

2000 – First Art Tour to Blumenthal Performances in Charlotte, County-wide Summer Concert program

2001 – BB&T Mural Project with NC Museum of Art, Party Series begun, First Satie’s Holiday Show and Sale?

2002 – Poe House Open House Fundraiser, Permission received from DOT for Hwy 321 sculpture

2003 – “West Wind Sentinel” placed on Hwy 321, Jazz and Blues Tour for schools and community, Bob Fitzgerald begins through Community Works program

2004 – Broyhill Family donates facility to the Caldwell Arts Council, cut from City of Lenoir budget due to high county job losses ($9500)

2005 – Historic Happy Valley Project begun (Much of the research for the Happy Valley project Lee Carol left on the shelf on the floor in the director’s office.  That was a 3+ year grant funded project where we hired folklorists to interview and document stories.  The cd files are housed at the NCAC and Wayne Martin was very involved in that project.  We should still have copies of the CD, and it use to be on our website as well.  John Craig made our copies of the CD.  Don't know if he could still make copies or not), CD driving tour, Part-time facilities position added (Bob Fitzgerald hired for this position)

2006 – Volunteer Coordinator part-time position added, we become fiscal agent for Happy Valley Fiddler’s Festival

2007 – Discover Craft NC exhibit awarded to Caldwell Arts Council by the Dept. of Cultural Resources

2008 – Art Book Collection donated by the Stevens Family, Cathy McCoy hired as Administrative Assistant, Middle School Recitation Competition begun, Dennis Hagerman Video Project, Happy Valley Mile Markers installed

2009 – Federal Stimulus Grant allows us to keep all staff at current staffing levels, CAC goes wireless

2010 – Art Around Caldwell Tour begins, NCDOT Awards Happy Valley Grant for public art piece

2011 – Sculpture Celebration moves to the Broyhill Walking Park, JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) Program begun, National Watercolor Exhibit here, Adrienne Roellgan hired as Volunteer Coordinator

2012 – Thomas Sayre “Across the Grain “ Sculpture created and installed, first Shakespeare Monologue Competition for high school, we become fiscal agent for Pop Ferguson Blues Festival

2013 – take on management of Tucker’s Sculpture Gallery, April Food and Fools Fund Raiser begun

2014 – Lee Carol Giduz took a 3-month sabbatical offered through the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; Darrin Moretz served as interim director. First annual JAM summer camp

2015 – Lee Carol resigned effective April 1 to take a position with BRAHM.  Adrienne Roellgen was promoted to the Executive Director position; Launi Higgs hired as Programs Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator; 30th Annual Sculpture Celebration.

2016 – 40th Birthday of the CAC; 5th Annual Lenoir Comedy Club fundraiser, JAM program extends to Hudson Elementary School. First Sculpting Our Future Summer Sculpture Camp – student works exhibited at Sculpture Celebration

2017 – Took on the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention as a program of the CAC, “Blackberry JAM” started with advanced students; Adrienne Roellgen resigned end of April; Saturday staffer Lindsay Barrick promoted to Executive Director; Launi Higgs resumes volunteer coordination. First Art In Motion dance camp held at the HUB.

2018 – Added Poetry Caldwell as a program of the Caldwell Arts Council

2019 – Lindsay Barrick resigned in March for health reasons. Allison Butler came off the Board to serve as Interim Manager through June. Suzette Bradshaw accepted the position of Executive Director and hired Ellen Ball as Assistant Director.



video production by Dennis Hagerman


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