The Arts Council of Wilson, Inc. 2016-2017 Board of Directors is pictured above in the Annie Boykin Gallery. Seated are Jean Jones, Linda Piper, Beth Searcy, Marcia Williamson, Delores Gunter and Brenda Evans. Standing are Leslie Atkinson, Tom Fyle, John Helms, Barnes Boykin, Rhyan Breen, Jay Gallimore, Jim Fitzgerald and Jeff Joyner. Members not pictured are Graham Andrews, Linda H. Barnes, Bob Beaman, Vonda Darr, Carole Perez-Navarro, Suzanne Vester and Tracy Wellington.
One Year Term (Class of 2017)
Two Year Term (Class of 2018)
Leslie T. Atkinson
Message from board president
Dear Supporters of the Arts:
The artistic culture of the Wilson community depends to a great extent upon the success of the Arts Council of Wilson to provide it. The Arts Council is one of the primary institutions to give us that enlightenment and it is essential that we do all we can to ensure the continuation of this leadership of the arts.
The success of the Arts Council and its offering of education, awareness, opportunity, and enjoyment of visual and performing arts to the community depends upon several critical aspects. Primarily, there must exist a love of the arts, a desire to produce and share the arts, and an infrastructure to accomplish this. The Wilson community is gifted with an abundance of talented and enthusiastic artists and lovers of arts. These facets have come together synergistically and successfully over the years and established a history of success of the arts in our community. Continuing that proud heritage, currently there exists in the community talented artists, civic minded and energetic board members, a professional and experienced permanent staff, and many giving volunteers. And we are fortunate to have great venues for the arts in both the Wilson Arts Center and the Edna Boykin Cultural Center.
The infrastructure of buildings and personnel come at a necessary and unescapable cost. This has to be addressed and I challenge the citizens of Wilson County to support the events of the Arts Council by attending openings, concerts, and plays, and joining and maintaining a high and generous level of membership and contributions to the Arts Council.
As reward for your endeavors, you can enjoy the exceptional variety of arts presented to you and proudly express you pleasure because you know you have supported and are responsible for the success of your Arts Council.
I promise to vigorously pursue the same challenge of involvement and engagement and look forward to seeing each of you at Arts Council events and working with you during this year.
President of the Arts Council of Wilson, 2016-17
Members of the Board of Directors share why they love the Arts Council of Wilson.
I have had a love of the arts since childhood. Even though my parents encouraged me to select a major in college that would provide guaranteed financial security, that love of the arts never wavered. During my working years I was a patron of the arts. At every opportunity I enjoyed theater, music, dance and visual art performances and/or events. After the Boykin Center became a part of the Wilson culture and climate, I was a regular patron. Having now retired, I have the opportunity to immerse myself in the things that I love and enjoy. And, I hope to participate in those things more fully as both a patron and facilitator. As a participant in a few other civic organizations, I look forward to using my position on the board of the Arts Council to initiate a relationship between these groups. Hopefully the other groups with which I am affiliated will become more aware of local entertainment events and talents. And, the Arts Council will benefit from more patronage at their sponsored events. In any community, the value and enrichment that the cultural arts bring is immeasurable. The chance to further enhance the cultural aspects of my community by serving on the board of the Arts Council (in any capacity) is a job to which I am looking forward.
As a young child of 2 music majors I remember walking through The Arts Council of Wilson with my mother from a very young age. I don't quite remember what we were doing but I do remember the excitement I felt when we were at The Arts Council. After college and grad school I moved back to Wilson, because it is my home. My husband and I love Wilson and plan on this being our home for the rest of our lives. What better way to contribute to your community than The Arts Council of Wilson? Our son has taken advantage of the camps, we love the local art and exhibits, our fourth date as a couple was at Banker's Holiday, and our wedding reception was right here at the Arts Council. We are proud members of the Arts Council of Wilson.
The arts council is a great asset to our community. It provides a cultural and artistic view of the people and the place we live. The Wilson arts council is diverse and serves as a way to bring people together from the many cultural aspects of our city and county. I am happy to be a part of such an outstanding organization. I would also encourage our citizens to participate in the many programs the arts council offers.
I was born and raised in Wilson. I was first exposed to the arts in the 9th grade when Bob Johnson asked me to audition for a role a Shoestring Theatre production. I was hooked. During the four years I spent at the University of North Carolina, I became a theatre rat. As my lack of talent on-stage became more obvious, I developed an interest and increasing talent in theatre lighting. I completed a year-long internship with the Master Electrician at PlayMaker's Rep and was soon running lights for every show produced. I spent the rest of my time at UNC running, designing and managing all aspects of the lighting for PlayMaker's at both the original PlayMaker's Theatre and the new Paul Green theatre. During the past few years, I have volunteered for several Art's Council and Act for Youth productions and soon became more and more involved with the lighting at the Boykin Center. I was thrilled with the newly upgraded light board and was honored to be asked to serve of the Boykin Center Dream Team. Now, I'm looking forward to continuing my support for the Arts in Wilson by serving on the Board of Directors for the next three years.
The Arts Council is so important to Wilson, especially the children in Wilson. We have many recreational activities and different sports, but all children are not interested or able to play sports. So, many children learn self-confidence and learn that they can be successful in the arts. The Arts Council is a place to come and enjoy the arts.
I have supported the Arts Council for a long time, but from afar with contributions and attending events. Now, I want to be a little more active and involved. Why? I have listed personal leanings towards the arts, but the more pragmatic evaluation is associated with the involvement of art and the arts in the fabric of community and the history and the identity and the pride of people, groups of like people, ethnicities, and nations! I have traveled to Italy, Russia, China, and other places and no matter where you go, each area is proud of many things associated with their locale, but folks always include, display, and celebrate their art, their painting, sculptor, dance, theater, and more. They are proud of the heritage of their past and proud of current artistic endeavors for the future. It is important! The Arts Council of Wilson strives to promote the arts of our community for education, for enjoyment, for personal improvement, and to keep the connecting thread alive that exists in the heart and soul of the human nature. Art is an essential part of us and our connection to each other. The Wilson Arts Council is a promoter for art in all of us, whether an artist or a lover of art or for even those not fully aware of art, that elevates the cultural standard of living for our community and for each citizen in our community. I want to be a part of that. It is important!
I have been associated with the ACW for nearly 5 years now in several different capacities. My youngest son was the one who really got us involved as a family with the ACW when he insisted on our auditioning for the 1st annual summer show, "The Music Man". Since our casting in that show my entire family has taken part in almost every aspect of the performing arts division of the ACW. My boys, 18 & 12 years old, have been involved in AFY productions; I have served as the Technical Director for several of those shows, and we love the family aspect of this program. We are also involved with The Playhouse of Wilson, where I serve alongside my wife, Susan, as house managers. Our family has also been cast in several of their productions. For our family, this is a place that allows us to use our God given talents, and to share those talents with others both in and outside of the Wilson community. What a wonderful way to spend time together as a family, we love it!