We are building out our summer programming and have at least two facilities available from which to teach. We would love to enrich the community through arts education!
General Art Classes or Workshops: If you are interested in teaching classes or workshops of any kind, please look at your schedule, consider which format is best for you, and your target age demographic, and fill out our form.
Teen/Youth programming: We would love to form a youth art community group. This group would get to explore all the facets of the art world here in Watauga County and beyond. We might have them tackle a mural project as well. We are seeking people who would like to help provide art experiences to this age group. We could do workshops or artist talks, demonstrations, backstage invites to shows, etc.
Special Needs Art Classes: We are currently considering offering some art classes for people with autism or other disabilities. It takes a special kind of teacher to be able to handle this type of class. If you have experience and a heart to serve people with autism or other exceptionalities, please reach out.
Spanish Speaking Art Classes: If you speak Spanish and love to teach art, we need you. We would love to open our doors to more minorities. Breaking down the language barrier can be a key step to making this happen.
Trauma-Sensitive Classes/art groups: We understand that Art can be a powerful tool for helping someone who has overcome traumatic experiences. If you have experience teaching classes with this special focus in mind, please reach out.
Music Instructors: If you have experience teaching music and are passionate about advancing this art form in the High Country, please reach out.
YOU are Needed! We are seeking to energize the Arts in Watauga County. In order to do so, we need to have a strong body of people who are committed to this mission! Here are a few areas where we could use some help:
General Help: If you are interested in helping with any of our initiatives but just don’t want to commit to a specific committee yet - we need warm bodies to help execute some of our plans. General help might include - helping around the office, teacher assistance, gallery/retail sitting, representing us at a booth for Art in the Park or the farmers market, etc.
Volunteer Organizer: We could really use help managing volunteers. If you have strong administrative skills and like working with schedules and communication, this would be a great way for your to contribute.
40-year anniversary helper: Help us filter through some of our file boxes, photos, and more and find constructive ways to showcase our rich history.
Donor Management, Fundraising Support, grant writing: We need help jump-starting our donor program. Preferably someone who has worked in nonprofits and understands how to tap into diverse revenue sources. We also need fundraising-minded people to join us with out-of-the-box thinking to help us raise capital in order to sustain our organization moving forward. This has been severely overlooked throughout the past 10 years and we need to get back on track in order to survive!
Communications Leader: We could really use someone who is skilled in marketing and communications to join our team and assist our director in communication efforts. We have a lot of initiatives we want to push, it can often be too much for the Director to try to facilitate on her own, someone with this experience would be greatly appreciated! Interns would help do the busy-work, you would help facilitate, strategize and connect dots.
Administrative Support: We could use someone who works well in an office setting who can help with filing, thank you letters, sending emails, donor management software etc.
King Street Art Collective Leader: This person will be our lead point person for the King Street Art Collective. They will help facilitate the work of the gallery and programming committees for this space. They will help organize/lead committee meetings to ensure our schedule is understood and being implemented. This volunteer will have the help of a dedicated intern and other volunteers.
Gallery Committee: We need a gallery chairperson to lead the committee. We would also love to build a strong team of gallery volunteers. Some of our previous volunteers have done it for many years and are ready to slow down. These volunteers will help facilitate gallery exhibitions at KSAC and other community galleries. Communicating with the artists, creating labels and artist statements for the exhibits, transporting and hanging shows according to set deadlines. This group will work with the communications committee to ensure detailed information and promotion about shows are being released.
Programming: We are building our team of programming-minded people. If you have great ideas for events, art classes, workshops, or community programming - we want to hear from you. We are seeking people who to help strategize and implement arts enrichment in the community. Outside the box thinkers welcome. Detail-oriented people- yes, please!
In May 2017, 400 members of the Watauga County community came together to learn about the impacts of trauma and resilience on health, wellness, and opportunities. At first centered around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), the group has expanded their scope to include various forms of trauma and the lifetime impacts, such as higher rates of mental disorders, limited opportunities, and health problems, including a possible shortened life expectancy of up to 20 years. The experience was so profound and impactful that a grassroots organization was formed called the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative. Prior to COVID, about 80 people from more than 40 organizations and groups met monthly to work on awareness, data, events, policies, and prevention. Since COVID, members have met by Zoom to continue this very important work. You can learn more about them at wataugacci.org.
Since the kick-off event in 2017, yearly conferences have continued to happen, with the last conference held in 2019 hosting a record 600 people. The 2020 conference was canceled due to COVID.
With the cancellation of the 2020 conference, another event sprung up called the WCCI Wednesday Conversations. The lead of WCCI, Denise Presnell, started this event in August 2020 as a way to keep WCCI and the trauma and resilience work in people’s consciousness on a more regular basis. Happening weekly on Wednesdays at noon, the hour is spent talking with service providers or people with trauma backgrounds about the impacts of trauma and resilience, how people and events change the trajectory of people’s lives, and how we create and maintain wellness.
As Denise shared her own high rate of childhood trauma and the factors that led to her healing, she connected with others with trauma experiences on the Wednesday Conversations. Through discussions with these folks and others, the concept of the “Faces of ACEs, Thriving Lives” series was born. Folks who are open to it share how childhood trauma impacted their lives and how their resilience and support systems helped them overcome their trauma experiences. As planning for the WCCI 2021 Virtual Conference took shape, an idea developed for the people involved with the “Faces of ACEs, Thriving Lives” series to contribute to the conference in a different way.
About the Exhibit
Most of the people from the “Faces of ACEs, Thriving Lives” series use art and words as part of their resilience and healing. Working with the Watauga Arts Council, they decided to do an exhibit with art they had created, titled Art After ACEs: An Exhibit presented by the WCCI Faces of ACEs, Thriving Lives series and the Watauga Art Council. Participants include Kat Dolan, Jordan Edmisten, Mollie Furman, Mary McKinney, Brooke Penley, Seleste Penley, Denise Presnell, Grace Presnell, and Ashley Wurth. The exhibit will run the week before the conference, the week of the conference, and the week after the conference (April 12-26). It will be held at Cheap Joe’s Art Supply, Monday-Friday 10 am - 6 pm and Saturdays 10 am- 5 pm. Admission is free. Enter through the retail store.
WCCI embraces a vision for Watauga County to be a relationship-driven, compassionate, and resilient community that is knowledgeable, inspired, and empowered to prevent harm, promote well-being, and heal from adversity. To heal from the abuses of the past and the present, implementing change requires individuals, families, communities, and systems to address historical trauma and eradicate racism. WCCI supports the worldwide demand for racial justice and commits to doing the work to embrace and support anti-racist policies and practices within our organizations and community.
The mission of WCCI is to promote health and resiliency in our community and to effectively prevent, recognize, and treat trauma by creating safe, stable, nurturing environments and relationships through education, advocacy and policy change.
Saturday, April 24th, 5 to 8 pm
Sunday, April 25th, 11 am to 2 pm
Artists looking to donate their wares can drop off their items at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace building at 377 Shadowline Drive, Boone, NC 28607, from now through April 23rd, 2021. Hours of operation are M-F 9 am-5 pm. Call if needed: 828-264-1789.
Potters, get to your wheels. Empty Bowls is Back!
*Watauga County, North Carolina
Empty Bowls is Back! Watauga High School, Watauga County Arts Council, and the Hunger and Health Coalition Partner to bring back a beloved community event
The Watauga Arts Council is teaming up with the Watauga High School Art Department and the Hunger and Health Coalition to host Empty Bowls. Empty Bowls is an annual fundraising event organized by the High School art department. Proceeds of Empty Bowls go to the Hunger and Health Coalition - a large-scale local food pantry serving High Country residents who struggle with food insecurity.
For the first time since its inception in 2001, Watauga High School Empty Bowls had to be canceled in 2020. "Because of the prolonged nature of the pandemic, an event at the high school was not plausible and we were searching for possibilities to continue with the spirit of the event”, says Brett McDonough, High School Ceramics Teacher. "Our event is built 100% on donations from generous local potters, restaurant owners, and artists. We were sensitive to even ask for donations due to the challenges many have faced this year. So, when Amber, the Director of the Watauga County Arts Council, reached out offering to help we were thrilled”, shares Dacia Trethewey, Watauga High School art teacher.
Bob Meyers of Doe Ridge Pottery contacted Amber to let her know that Empty Bowls had been canceled again. “I knew Amber wanted to use the Arts Council to support the community and this seemed like a good fit. Empty Bowls is a fantastic event that people look forward to; it was really missed last year.”
As the pandemic continued and many families in our community struggled to make ends meet, the Hunger and Health Coalition stayed open to ensure that our residents would have steady access to healthy foods. “Being a consistent and reliable resource for our neighbors in need has never been more important. We know that providing nutritious foods helps our community stay healthy and keeps their immune systems strong. We are honored to partner with this passionate group of local artists to bring back such a beloved event!”, shares Elizabeth Young, Hunger and Health Coalition Executive Director.
“This has been such a tough year for so many people. I can’t think of a better way to lift spirits and encourage our residents”, said Amber Bateman, director of the Watauga Arts Council. “We feel so blessed to have the Blue Ridge ArtSpace and King Street Art Collective and want these spaces to be used for collaborative, creative purposes. We hope to see more of this in the future.”
The Arts Council can offer structure and support to help facilitate this fundraising event. “Offering this to our friends at the High School and to the Hunger and Health Coalition while also inspiring creativity for our potters is the perfect way to showcase the spirit that makes the High Country so special,” Amber added.
Empty Bowls* will be a simplified version of our traditional Empty Bowls. While we can’t offer the full soup-eating, social experience, we can offer beautiful bowls and t-shirts designed by Asa Markus, a senior at Watauga High School. Businesses who might want to sponsor this event are encouraged to reach out to the Arts Council.
The event will be on Saturday, April 24th, 5 to 8 pm, and Sunday, April 25th, 11 am to 2 pm at the King Street Art Collective located at 585 West King Street, Boone, NC 28607, just above Doe Ridge Pottery. This year, ticketholders will be able to drop in to choose a locally-made bowl, listen to a live band, and check out the App State Senior Design Showcase.
**Please note that due to the pandemic, Soup will not be served this year. To best keep our patrons safe, we are offering two different days and various pick-up times.
To volunteer to help with this event, please go to our website and fill out a volunteer form and write Empty Bowls in the comment section of the registration form. For more information, contact the Watauga County Arts Council at 828-264-1789.
WCAC - High Country Radio Announcements