Arts Council director gives update on Arts Center construction

COLUMBIANA – Some people still might not know much information about the large facility under construction in Columbiana, and Bruce Andrews hopes to fill them in.

Andrews, executive director of the Shelby County Arts Council, spoke at The Shelby County Chamber’s Connections Luncheon on Thursday, April 4 at the First Baptist Church of Columbiana.

Andrews started his presentation to local business leaders with a definition of art as solutions to problems.

“A work of art creatively solves it—they’re using their imagination, and that can be an inspiration,” Andrews said.

It is estimated that the arts contribute $763.6 billion annually for the U.S. economy, Andrews said.

The Arts Council was established in 2005 and accomplishes its mission—to support, nurture and promote the arts and cultural opportunities in Shelby County—through programming for at-risk youth, special needs students, among other efforts.

The Arts Council collaborates with various other local entities for initiatives, some of which can be daunting, Andrews said.

“The good news in Shelby County is you are never working alone,” he said.

The under-construction arts center is another example of that collaboration, as it the result of a combined effort of the Arts Council, Shelby County and city of Columbiana.

The 30,000-square-foot arts center will feature a 200-seat performance theater, formal art gallery, larger instruction spaces, expanded pottery and sculpture space, expanded musical instruction and rehearsal space for music lessons, metal arts section including a small foundry, 500-seat multipurpose indoor pavilion and outdoor amphitheater.

The building will be the centerpiece of a public park at the site that together will form the Old Mill Square municipal complex.