Thank you, Mrs. Lane

Published 12:59 am Sunday, December 11, 2011

The following remarks were made by Joey Toler, Beaufort County Arts Council executive director, during the introduction of the annual HeART of the City Christmas Concert at the Turnage Theater on Dec. 2.

Today, our community lost one of its most passionate and devoted arts advocates.

More than 40 years ago, Louise Lane led the effort to create an arts council for Beaufort County. She believed that the arts had the power to enrich our community, and that arts experiences should be made available to everyone regardless of race, creed, economic status or background.

Louise first worked with a small core of dedicated arts patrons in the 1960s who called themselves the Pamlico Arts Group and, from this effort, the Beaufort County Arts Council as we know it today was formed in 1971. She was the organization’s first director.

The arts, and the organization she loved, were never far from her mind. Up until this past year, Louise always made a point to attend all exhibit openings, public programs, and would stop by the office on occasion just to see how things were going. She would call me often, especially when I first took on the role of executive director, to see how I was getting along, to offer her help, to let me know when I was doing a good job, and also to let me know if she thought I could be doing more. But she always handled herself with grace, elegance and a wonderful sense of humor.

Louise, along with her husband Harold, served as honorary board members of the arts council as directors emeritus.

For those of you who knew Louise, you know this past year has not been easy for her and her family. There were several times we thought she would leave us before now. But how fitting that she waited until this weekend, when hundreds of people have filed through the Civic Center for the Holiday Arts & Craft show, and when this beautiful theater is full of people for this annual concert, all presented by the arts council that she loved so dearly.

To her husband Harold, and to her daughter Connie, and to the rest of her family, please know that our thoughts are with you at this sad time. But I hope they also find comfort in the fact that her legacy will continue to be an influence on the people of Beaufort County for many years to come.

Louise — we thank you for your passion and your vision. We will miss you!

Louise Lane received a heart-felt standing ovation from a full house.