Must be doing something right

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 1, 2012

This week a Sound Off caller questioned why the Beaufort County Arts Council had canceled Art Camp, a long-standing day camp in which kids paint and mold clay, sing, dance, act and even do yoga. A challenge was issued to the Daily News to find out what the BCAC does for the people of its county anymore. So we did.

Art Camp was canceled after 20-some years due to circumstances outside the control of the BCAC. Beaufort County Schools and other education facilities are wrapping the school year up later than usual. The last day of school for Washington Montessori Public Charter School, from which quite a few Art Camp attendees come, is on Tuesday, the week Art Camp was scheduled. While the school year ends for BCS students before Art Camp was to start, not so for Art Camp teachers who also teach art in the schools, as administrative days for the teachers were pushed back. Though arts council staff attempted to find another week, the Civic Center did not have the availability for the block of time needed for their camp.

Thus, Art Camp was canceled this year, though the arts council staff intends for it to come back bigger and better next year.

Now, what has the BCAC done for us lately? Quite a few things, it turns out. It’s offered us art by way of exhibits throughout the year; culture, through events like the first-ever multicultural festival; and support for events put on by the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association, the River City Ringers, Beaufort County Community Orchestra and the Beaufort County Choral Society.

The BCAC chips in for BathFest, Aurora Fossil Festival, Belhaven’s 4th of July celebration, Engelhard’s Seafood Festival and the Ocrafolk festival, among others. It brought in $88,000 of grant money that put storyteller Joyce Greer in elementary schools across the county and put on an opera for BCS students. It brought a fiery hula-hooping show and rock bands to the waterfront and invited everyone in Beaufort County to celebrate its anniversary with a reception and exhibit showcasing the art and artists that have come through its doors over the past 40 years.

That’s right — 40 years. Logic dictates that any organization that old and not only kicking, but high-stepping like a Broadway chorus line, is doing something right.

We asked and we found out: the arts council is a viable, valid organization. Its staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make the county just a little brighter, a little more colorful. What the arts council is not is entertainment on demand. Nor should it be — that’s what television is for.