We are proud of the continuous programming we’ve created in the ten years since the Council was incorporated on August 14, 2009 and we’re about to launch another year of arts, with an exciting schedule of exhibits, more community activities and our most comprehensive schedule of classes to date!
Ten Years Ago: Malinda Shaver Looks Back
In a conversation with Annette Verna, founding member and past-President Malinda Shaver reflects on the Arts Council’s beginnings ten years ago.
Malinda worked in the Arts in Montgomery County, Maryland, starting in community theater. With her partner and co-founder, Rip Smith, they saw an opportunity to bring the various arts organizations and interests in Berkeley County together to share resources and benefit from a common purpose.
Malinda: “From Rip’s and my earliest association with the arts here, we heard of the wish of local artists to contribute to a desirable and economically healthy but still historic downtown.”
One early inspiration came from Cumberland, MD. In February, 2009, then Executive Director Andy Vick of the Allegany Arts Council made a trip to Martinsburg and spoke to the City Club and other local arts groups about how arts had bolstered the revitalization of that town. That led to the development of the Berkeley Arts Bulletin to promote networking and let the public know what we were trying to do.
They discussed ideas with other organizations, including the Heritage Craft Center and the ArtBerkeley organization as well as numerous individual artists.
From the start, practicing artists were always the primary focus of our efforts and we could see how they could benefit from having an Arts Council. Besides building community, we could provide them exhibition space to show their work, and we also offered Artisan Resource workshops in cooperation with the Tamarack Foundation, to help artists build business and professional skills to strengthen their careers.
Malinda: “Some thought it was not a good time to launch an arts council, since funds were almost non-existent. But sooner or later we felt improvement was coming. Our discussions indicated there was strong support for moving forward, so we jumped in with both feet, incorporating the Berkeley Arts Council in August of 2009: With this foundation we would be ready to take advantage of whatever new opportunities came along.”
We hope to continue to tell the story of the past ten years, reviewing the successes and challenges, as we also plan for the next ten years. In the meantime, you can go back in time and explore our blog archives on our website:
In the Berkeley Art Works Gallery
Coming in October:
We are excited to announce our first “Craft in the Eastern Panhandle” exhibit, October 9 through November 9 at the Berkeley Art Works. In conjunction with American Craft Week, which is held each year in early October, this exhibit, curated by Annette Verna, is a month-long celebration of contemporary fine craft and highlights the work of ten artists living and working in and around the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. These artists are master craftspeople working in a variety of media including basketry, clay, metal, textiles, and wood. Their work represents the high quality of craft being created in our region.
Co-op Space Available
We have space for one 2-dimensional artist and one 3-dimensional artist in the Berkeley Art Works co-op group. Details about jurying and membership (including downloadable forms) are on the BAC web site at: https://berkeleyartswv.org/artists-at-the-works/#opencall. If you have any questions, please reply back to this email and we’ll fill you in.