High Point Arts Council 2018 Arts Awards Winners
Each year, the High Point Arts Council sponsors the Arts Awards for those whose contributions to the arts make its mission possible. The 34th annual Arts Awards event was held on June 20 at the Centennial Station Arts Center. When attendees walked into the dinner theatre, they could tell by the decor that it was not going to be a typical awards ceremony!
With the upcoming 80th anniversary of the Arts Center’s facility on July 5, the program celebrated the future, present and past lives of the facility. What was a freight train station in 1938, became furniture showrooms in 2002, and an arts center in 2012.
The evening was kicked off by dancers from High Point Ballet performing a futuristic piece Zooz from Urban Odyssey. This piece recently won an award at the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association festival in Alabama and received a standing ovation, as did the encore performance in High Point!
Staying on the future theme, the first Arts Award to be presented was Teacher of the Arts by Debbie Lumpkins, Executive Director. The best way for students to be prepared for the future is to develop the right side of the brain as well as the left side, and an arts education does just that. Students of the arts are more creative, innovative and better at problem solving than their non-arts counterparts.
The recipient of the Teacher of the Arts award, Teresa Flack, was recognized for her 23 years of teaching elementary music at Wesleyan Christian Academy. Her students love to perform and they love to share their gifts with others. In addition to performing at school, they perform at assisted living and skilled care facilities. She has had a positive impact on the lives of young people and nurtured in them a love for the arts!
Moving on to the present, Jim Morgan, Past Board Chair, shared how the arts center was purchased in 2012 and became the first permanent home for the arts in High Point. The building was purchased for $731,000 at a fraction of the value and the Arts Council invested another $250,000 in renovations and upfits. Being located in a prime downtown location, the Arts Center has been a good investment and has increased participation in the arts.
Two board members who signed on in 2012 and have been along for this ride for 6 years are Lucille Duncan and Ginny McDermott. They were awarded the Arts Council’s Spike Award because they are the spikes that help keep the train on tracks, both literally and figuratively. The spike on the awards are actually from tracks that used to be in front of the building!
The Arts Award for Individual Support of the Arts was presented to N.C. Representative John Faircloth for his long-time support of the arts, both personally and professionally. As Chairman of the State’s Appropriation Committee, he has been instrumental in increasing grassroots funding for the arts to ensure that the arts are accessible to everyone in our community. Most recently, he sought an appropriation for the Centennial Station Arts Center to help preserve this historic facility and it is now in the 18-19 State Budget for $180,000.
Taking us back to the past, Board Member Tom Blount shared that when the train tracks were lowered in 1938, timbers from the 1902 freight train depot were moved to the current location making the floors in the Arts Center’s dinner theatre 116 years old! On July 5, the Southern Railway opened for business at the newly constructed freight depot on what is now S. Centennial Street.
By 2002, what was then known as the Haley Transport & Storage Depot had fallen into disrepair and was being renovated for furniture showrooms. The building reopened that October under the new name of Centennial Station. Unfortunately, the recession hit and the building went into foreclosure.
The Arts Council purchased the facility in 2012, amended its name to the Centennial Station Arts Center and it began its third life.
Speaking of longevity, this year’s winner of the Arts Award for Corporate Support of the Arts went to a company that has been serving clients for more than 60 years. Each year, Dixon Hughes Goodman assigns an accountant to serve on the boards of High Point Community Concerts and Piedmont Artists and to provide their accounting expertise at no charge. This in-kind donation has enabled these two arts organizations to bring classically trained musicians to High Point audiences.
In addition to the Arts Awards, Star Board Member Awards were presented by Debbie Lumpkins. As Executive Director of a united arts council, she has the opportunity to work with board members of six organizations who give so much of themselves for the arts and our community. Individual arts organizations nominated a board member whose star shone the brightest this past year. Winners were Cindy Jarrell for Carousel Theatre, Ronnie Dean for High Point Ballet, David Briggs for High Point Community Concerts, Janie Price for High Point Community Theatre, Kourtney Payne for Piedmont Artists, and Jim Morgan for High Point Arts Council.
To close out the evening, Debbie Lumpkins took the audience back to the future with an architectural drawing of the Centennial Station Arts Center showing six floors added on the north end totaling an additional 114,000 square feet. This rendering was actually done in 2002 by Architect Gary Robbins, but it let’s you explore the Art of the Possibility. The Arts Council already owns 3.25 acres in a prime downtown location, has 200 parking spaces which are a tremendous asset, so if more room is needed, up is always an option!