Imagine the difference you can make

Published 4:46 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL / Lifestyles Editor

Imagine the streets of Columbiana filled with hundreds of people.

Think Monster Walk, Liberty Day or any other of the town’s big festivals.

Now, imagine that on a weekly basis.

That’s what Shelby County Arts Council Executive Director Terri Sullivan hopes will happen if a new arts community center is built in the town.

At the Celebration of the Arts fundraiser on Feb. 2, Sullivan launched the Shelby County Arts Council’s official fundraising campaign to create a 26,000-square-foot center.

“A flourishing arts community is an economic engine,” she said. “People who attend arts events and classes spend money locally, creating revenue for business owners and generating sales tax revenue for the city and county.”

Sullivan said the center would bring about 150 people daily to Columbiana and 300 on the weekends.

The proposed center would serve as a space for both performances and education with a black box theater, orchestra hall, art gallery, courtyard, art and music classrooms and a dance studio.

Fundraising for the center has actually been ongoing for at least a year. The arts council had raised more than $2.5 million as of January 2012.

The city of Columbiana also donated the land for the future center.

Since the SCAC was founded more than seven years ago, the organization has served more than 23,000 children, youth and adults. The organization offers dozens of art, photography, writing and music classes both at the SCAC headquarters and throughout the county.

It also hosts art exhibits, contests and other events each year.

I’ve attended numerous exhibits, classes and programs hosted by the SCAC over the last two years. At each event, I’m astounded by what the organization has managed to accomplish with limited funds. I firmly believe the importance of the arts — painting, photography, theater and music — in the lives of children and adults.

Imagine what the arts council can do with more space and resources. You can help make a difference in your community by donating to the campaign.

For more information, contact Terri Sullivan at (205) 215-1136.

Katie McDowell is the Lifestyles Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at