Shelby County Arts Council receives award for community efforts

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, May 16, 2024

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By RACHEL RAIFORD | Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Arts Council was recently awarded with the Stand for the Arts Award. Select arts organizations across the country are awarded with a sizable donation along with the honor of being an outstanding arts organization. 

Since 2017, Charter Communications and Ovation-TV have partnered to recognize local arts organizations. The SCAC has been the first to be recognized in Alabama. 

According to a release from Ovation, “the Stand for the Arts awards are given to organizations that empower their communities, build strategic partnerships, drive engagement through volunteerism and deliver creative programming.” 

SCAC Executive Director Bruce Andrews says that this honor came as a surprise. 

“We didn’t apply for this grant,” Andrews said. “They recognized us. We want to put Columbiana on the map, and this recognition is huge, it’s not even in the state.” 

Along with the recognition, they received a $10,000 check. Andrews said that this money will be put toward operations for programs. The donation is unrestricted, meaning the SCAC can use it how they see fit. 

“Operations can be the most difficult expense to cover,” Andrews said. “That’s another great aspect about this donation, being able to use it in any way.” 

In order to honor the recognition they’ve received, the SCAC was tasked with hosting a celebratory event which took place on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m. 

Community Engagement Coordinator Leslie Belk produced the event. She shared how successful their musical theater programs have been, so she knew that’s who she wanted to highlight during the celebration. 

The SCAC musical theater students performed select numbers from Frozen Jr., a musical put on earlier this year. They also invited special guest Allie B. Gorrie, a solo act, to perform. 

“While planning the event was a huge task, I was excited for the opportunity to present something in honor of the recognition we’ve received,” Belk said. “They saw what we were doing for the community, just based off of our online portfolio.” 

Aside from the performances, there were speakers and the final presentation of the award and donation. While Andrews gave opening remarks, Senior Director at Charter Communications Taylor Vice offered kind words to the SCAC. State Rep. Corley Ellis also shared about the impact the SCAC has on the local community. 

“Our obvious role in the community is to do what we’re supposed to as an arts organization,” Andrews said. “Moreover, we want to draw attention to Columbiana and the beauty of the county. If someone recognizes that, I feel that we’ve accomplished our responsibility to the community.” 

Those interested in learning more about the Stand for the Arts Award may visit The SCAC can be found on Facebook or on Instagram @shelby_county_arts.