BCAC seeking members

Published 1:44 am Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Joey Toler, executive director of the Beaufort County Arts Council, passes a membership-payment envelope to longtime BCAC member Mary Catherine Williams Tuesday at the arts council’s Lane Gift Shop in Washington. (WDN Photo/Jonathan Clayborne)

This isn’t just another membership drive.
Yes, the Beaufort County Arts Council is welcoming new and returning individual and business members during its annual membership drive this month.
But one thing that makes this effort “especially poignant” is its intersection with BCAC’s 40th anniversary, according to Joey Toler, executive director of the arts council.
In a bow to this milestone, BCAC has set a first-time goal of welcoming 40 new members under age 40 during its February campaign.
“This is important as we look to the next 40 years,” Toler said in a news release.
In a follow-up interview, he emphasized the campaign is equally important to the arts council’s bottom line and its ability to continue community arts programming.
The $50,000 reaped by BCAC’s membership drive accounts for around a quarter of its approximately $200,000 annual budget, Toler pointed out.
The membership funds are used to match grants for public arts programs, he related.
“It’s extremely important to us,” he said.
Membership levels range from $25 for students or individual seniors to $125 or more, the news release notes.
“We’re grateful for our bigger donors, don’t get me wrong,” Toler commented, “but, really, what keeps us going are the $25, $40, $60 memberships. They are really important to us.”
And membership, at all levels, does entail certain privileges.
BCAC members get breaks on fees or tuition for arts council workshops or other initiatives.
Donors at the $125 or higher levels receive discounts on items sold in BCAC’s Lane Gift Shop.
“All of our members receive mailings and special notices about our programs,” Toler said.
These notices may inform people about BCAC’s most-well-known programs, such as the Fine Arts Show or holiday craft fair, but also about lesser-known events, including school-based presentations, gallery exhibits and other programs in all of Beaufort County’s townships and smaller communities.
Most of the arts council’s programs are free to the public.
BCAC’s mission is to make arts experiences possible for all of the county’s residents, Toler shared.
Mary Catherine Williams is a longtime arts council member who said she’d probably been on the roster from the group’s beginning.
“I’ve enjoyed it all through the years and it’s such a wonderful thing to have for this community,” Williams said. “I just love being here and being a member.”
For more information, call BCAC at 252-946-2504 or email beaufortcountyarts@embarqmail.com.