Rotary guest talks difference in the arts

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Elaine Blair, Troy Arts Council patrons’ chair, was the program guest at the Wednesday meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club. Harry Sanders was the program host.

Elaine Blair, Troy Arts Council patrons’ chair, was the program guest at the Wednesday meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club. Harry Sanders was the program host.

Brundidge Rotarians now have a better understanding of what the Troy Arts Council is and what it’s not.

Elaine Blair, TAC patrons chair, was the program guest of Harry Sanders at the Wednesday meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club.

Blair, laughingly, said that she would like to clear up the confusion that exists between the arts opportunities offered by the Troy Arts Council and the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center.

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“Everybody gets us confused,” she said. “I’ve gotten checks in the mail that were intended for the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center. It would be nice to have them but I send them where they were intended to go.”

Blair told the Rotarians that the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center primarily promotes the visual arts and the Johnson Center for the Arts is its gallery venue.

“The TAC’s main focus is for the performing arts,” she said. “We bring a variety of artistic performances to the Claudia Crosby Theater each year.”

Together the two arts organizations have made Troy an arts destination for those who enjoy the visual and performing arts.

But, Blair said that Brundidge, too, is an arts destination with the We Piddle Around Theater and its folk life play and storytelling events and Studio 116, which houses both an art gallery and a performance center.

“We know that Brundidge supports the arts,” Blair said. “And the TAC is proud to be a part of the arts community in Pike County.”

The TAC has been a leader in the arts since 1974 and it recently became a non-profit organization.

“Being a non-profit organization has made a huge difference in our fund-raising efforts, Blair said. “We are eligible to receive federal and state funds. We receive funding from the city and the Pike County Commission, from grants, our patrons and our corporate sponsors.”

Blair said it costs “big bucks” to bring nationally and internationally acclaimed performers to Troy.

“And, we depend on our patrons’ support and our ticket sales to help bring these performances to Troy,” she said. “When you buy a ticket to a performance, you are supporting our young people, too.”

Michael Kelsey, a world-class guitarist performed at the Crosby Theater Tuesday night.

He also performed at Goshen, Banks and Pike County elementary schools.

Rotarian Anita Grant, who is the PCES principal, expressed appreciation to the TAC for making the Kelsey concert available to her students.

“He was outstanding,” Grant said. “He held the students’ interest and made them more aware that music is expressive and emotional. We appreciated the opportunity to hear him.”

The TAC has a rotating grant program that is available to city and county schools on an annual basis. The TAC was the original sponsor of the Jean Lake Festival, now TroyFest, and awards a Jean Lake Scholarship to a high school senior each year who plans to continue in the arts.

As a ninth-grader, Blair said she had an opportunity to usher at Stan Kenton and Ferrante & Teicher concerts.

“Those concerts made an impression on my life and I was so appreciative of those opportunities,” she said.

Blair added and that the arts opportunities offered in Pike County have the potential to enhance the quality of life for those who take advantage of them.

She said that the arts are alive and well in Pike County and encouraged the Rotarians to support the arts according to their interests.