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Local News

Stanly County Arts Council Celebrates 50 Years

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As the Stanly County Arts Council marks its 50th anniversary, the organization is emphasizing the importance of arts in the community and pushing for greater investment. The council, which helps channel grassroots funding to local art initiatives through the North Carolina Arts Council, aims to revitalize the arts’ presence in schools and the broader community.

Executive Director Renee VanHorn highlighted the ongoing struggles with funding since the 2008 recession, noting that while progress has been made, support has not yet returned to its peak levels. The council has invested over $855,000 into more than 65 local organizations since 1978, supporting programs that enhance quality of life and mental health. VanHorn stressed the importance of providing students with artistic outlets, especially as school programs face financial challenges. The nonprofit arts industry contributes significantly to the economy, generating $166.3 billion annually nationwide and over $2.2 billion in North Carolina alone.