Fulfilling dreams for the artists in us all

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2008

“Art is the only thing you cannot punch a button for. You must do it the old-fashioned way. Stay up and really burn the midnight oil. There are no compromises.”

Leonytne Price

The Shelby County Arts Council recently took two large steps forward in its effort to create a world-class performing arts facility here in Shelby County.

Terri Sullivan, president of the council, announced the group has received two grants, one from the Shelby County Commission totaling $10,000 and another from the state of Alabama for $36,000. These two generous grants will be invested in architectural renderings of the yet-to-be constructed facility.

Grants such as these go a long way toward the initial work needed to create a building designed specifically to provide arts education, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances and the like.

It goes without saying that operating any non-profit can be challenging at times and certainly such is the case with the relatively young Shelby County Arts Council. But those involved in the council have never shied away from hard work.

Sullivan, the council’s board of directors and countless volunteers have been working since late 2004 to realize the dream of a top-tier art training and performance facility.

The validity of that dream was confirmed by research organized by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham not so long ago. Their research pointed out that people are very interested in having greater arts and cultural opportunities. Attendance at the many classes already offered in Alabaster, Columbiana and Chelsea provides further evidence that people will take advantage of the opportunities.

Completion of a new art facility is still several years down the road; architectural plans must be drawn, funds must be raised and nails hammered. But anyone who shares the arts council’s vision or knows the council’s passionate supporters is already readying their paint brushes and theater glasses.

The realization of the council’s vision will take help and support [both in time and dollars] from many within our community. We all need to be prepared to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work that will be needed.

Nothing beautiful ever happens without some effort.