Rallying Around the Cultural Scene – First Off: Bel Air Artisans Center

“The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself.”
Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge

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In our day to day lives of work and family responsibilities, there isn’t a lot of time to wax poetic over a question like, what speaks to the stability of a community? That’s why I am writing this post. When I first launched this blog last July,  I visited the BAAC where the people involved are welcoming and talented. Unable to draw a straight line myself, I am thankful for the beauty creative people bring to our lives.

I grew up in Evanston, a suburb north of Chicago, and was taken regularly into the city, to the ballet, to the opera, to museums, and theater. The city provided a cultural playground. I understand how the arts speak to the stability of a community, how necessary they are, not only for those who live here, but for the people moving to Rocky Mount. They want a diverse population, a cultural context that the Mills, Railroad, and Tobacco stories provide. They want a historically relevant sense of place, and they want a place that offers art, music and theater.

I think you would agree that those of us who live busy lives often take for granted places in Rocky Mount that are important pieces in the revitalization puzzle. Think of the Tar River Orchestra & Chorus, the many facets of  The Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, and the Artisans Center: all essential to the stability of the community.  The Artisans Center is an incubator space for creative people with plenty of room for expansion. It has endless potential still untapped. I’m concerned this place will remain under appreciated until we understand what a critical piece the arts have in drawing people to the area and the enrichment of our own lives.

The Bel Air Artisans Center has had extensive love and money poured into the building, turning it into a creative place for the entire community. The building is for sale, but its mission remains important to the future. This is a plea to artists, for all creative people in the community to consider your significant role in the future of the city. I want the community to rally around all the arts because they represent more than we may have realized. In the case of the Artisans Center, you may not need a studio, but you would enjoy the inspiration of artists hard at work. Visit, bring friends, let’s think of enriching ways to entice people to the BAAC. Support music, the performing arts, the cultural scene.         And….don’t be surprised if you find me in the street directing traffic towards

             115 S. CHRUCH STREET.  Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10-5     (252) 442-8115

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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One Response to Rallying Around the Cultural Scene – First Off: Bel Air Artisans Center

  1. We have loved the Artisan’s Center–first as customers, now as artists. It’s a gem, for sure.

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