YPA caters to ‘younger audience’

Published 10:55 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

By JENNIFER MAIER / Community Columnist

An appreciation of the arts has become the focus of some local young professionals. Young Professionals for the Arts is a new board in development to serve as an extension of the Shelby County Arts Council.

SCAC Executive Director Bruce Andrews sees the possibilities that can come from engaging a younger audience. Young Professionals for the Arts, known as YPA, will work along with the current board that was created over 10 years ago.

YPA board members Jon Harrison and Meagan Mims stand in front of Shelby County Arts Council. (Contributed)

YPA board members Jon Harrison and Meagan Mims stand in front of Shelby County Arts Council. (Contributed)

“We have a fantastic board of directors now with a broad array of skills, talent and life experience,” said Andrews. “The addition of a board of motivated young adults who see the merit in our mission statement will be invaluable.”

Jon Harrison, Meagan Mims, Treadwell Davis and Elizabeth Boone are the charter members of YPA. They hope to add additional members who share their passion for the arts.

“Our mission is to raise awareness of the Shelby County Arts Council to a younger crowd. I know there are a lot of people our age interested, we just have to bring them here to experience it,” said Mims.

The idea to create a board aimed at young professionals came about through a conversation Mims had with Andrews.

“It spurred from a conversation Bruce Andrews and I had when I was at his office one day,” Mims said. “It just hit us both like a light bulb.”

Board member Jon Harrison feels like the current members of the board bring different skills and talents that will be needed for the board to be a success.

“Each current member has a very diverse background,” said Harrison. “Meagan’s background is marketing and she will be great at getting the word out in the right publications about the many events the YPA will be hosting. My strong suit is the event coordination side of things.”

Harrison stated that he has planned large events while he was the marketing director for the City of Columbiana and he looks forward to doing the same as a member of YPA.

He also pointed out the talents of Treadwell Davis and Elizabeth Boone.

“Treadwell is highly organized and has excellent business sense. Elizabeth is an excellent facilitator when it comes to projects and events. We make a great team,” he said.

The YPA is already planning a fundraiser to help the SCAC.

“We are planning a crawfish boil on the night before Liberty Day, June 24,” said Harrison.   “We hope to have tickets on sale soon. We are partnering with the City of Columbiana and they have already booked The Cooper Trent Band to play on Main Street that night.”

While fundraising is a major focus of YPA, Mims pointed out that she wants to keep people her age in the county where they can appreciate the local arts scene.

“We have a lot of great things going on and I want people to see us in the best light,” said Mims. “I really have a passion for Shelby County because it’s where I grew up and it truly is a gem.”

Andrews is pleased with the enthusiasm expressed by the current YPA members.

“I am more convinced than ever that the infusion of arts and cultural opportunities into a community raises the value of that community at every level,” he said. “It’s reasonable to believe that 20 to 30-year-old forward-thinking business men and women will bring some fresh ideas and angles to the table and help project SCAC to their own demographic.”

Although there isn’t an age requirement for involvement on the board, Mims feels it might appeal to those age 25 to 35.

However, anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to contact her at meagan.mims@shelbycountyreporter.com.