The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has announced a series of grants to benefit local arts organizations.

The Arts Guild
    The Fayetteville Art Guild today announced a project, which will increase participation in visual art both for the artists and the viewing public by producing a series of seven art exhibitions with the help of a grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County
    “The Arts Council Grant will aid the Fayetteville Art Guild in continuing to provide artistic representation of and outlets for our community’s many diverse cultural groups and opportunities for artists of all levels to develop and show their work,” said Starr Oldorff, president of the guild.
    The mission of the Fayetteville Art Guild is to illuminate the richness and diversity of local art while cultivating art appreciation in Fayetteville and the surrounding communities. The Guild strives to preserve local culture yet introduce international flavors through exhibits, community activities, education, competitions, workshops and monthly meetings devoted to the advancement of art. Thousands of community members visit and enjoy the annual juried and non-juried exhibits, including collaborative exhibits with Fort Bragg and Fayetteville State University. The Fayetteville Art Guild is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a vibrant and enduring art community. For more than 40 years, the guild has served the Cumberland County community in this capacity. Current membership includes approximately 85 member artists of varying skill levels. The guild has four at large board members representing business, art and community interests as well as five member officer board members. All board members and officers serve voluntarily. 
    The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County has awarded the Friends of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center a $4,000 project support grant for The Big Read set for mid-February through March.

The Big Read
    {mosimage}Cumberland County’s The Big Read 2009 will encourage the community to read and discuss “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett. Published in 1930, “The Maltese Falcon” set the standard for all subsequent hardboiled detective stories. It follows private investigator Sam Spade as he sets out to find a jewel-encrusted falcon statue and prove he is innocent of his partner’s murder.
    “The generous support of the Arts Council will allow the Friends of the Library and our community partners to shine a bright spotlight on a great American literary classic,” said Gail Byrd, president of the Friends of the Library. “We hope the community will enjoy reading the book and attending the many programs scheduled at various libraries and museums.”
    The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
    The Friends of the Library received a $20,000 grant from the NEA for the 2009 project. This is the third year in a row the NEA and Arts Council have awarded funds to support Cumberland County’s The Big Read. In 2007 the community read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, followed by Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” this spring. The library and its community partners hope to build on the success of the past two projects. More than 2,800 people attended programs related to “Fahrenheit 45” held throughout the community in March and April.
    Funding from the Arts Council will support programming such as the March 10 appearance of Dr. Richard Layman, editor of Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade and Hardboiled Mystery Writers: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald: A Literary Reference, as well as a March 31 presentation by Margaret Maron, one of North Carolina’s best-selling mystery writers.
    The Friends of the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, Inc., is a volunteer organization whose mission is to create an awareness of the services and resources offered by the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center, to focus attention on library needs and to enrich programming opportunities available to county citizens of all ages.
    “The Project Support Grants truly makes a difference,” said Deborah Martin Mintz, executive director of the Arts Council. “We’re proud to partner with The Fayetteville Art Guild to provide arts related programming that engages our residents in projects that make our home a better place for everyone.”
    The Arts Council’s Project Support Grants are awarded to local non-profit agencies, who produce programs of artistic merit and who demonstrate financial and administrative stability. The purpose of Project Support Grants is to recognize and support exemplary forms of artistic expression.
    The Fayetteville Art Guild was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation on June 6, 1967 for “the furtherance of the art interest” of residents, to provide a “focal point for practicing artists” and “to provide an organization to hold and engage in exhibitions, workshops and critique activities concerning art.”  Members are welcome at monthly meetings that are held the third Monday of each month at the Arts Center at 5:30 p.m. Yearly membership dues are $20 per person. For more information, please call Starr Oldorff at 910-635-6114.

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