Happy Spring! I hope you are all enjoying the early blooms of color as much as we are at Weymouth.
As you read this, I am no longer president of the Friends of Weymouth. However, the friendships I’ve made here will always be a part of my heart. I leave the board after 6 ½ years, 5 of those years as president, knowing that the new officers and board are well equipped to keep Weymouth’s future bright. My intention, as president, was to work as a team, run Weymouth as a business, to have Weymouth better serve our community and to leave the organization in a better position than when I began.
I have been blessed to serve with an outstanding group who have given so much of their time, talent and passion to moving Weymouth forward. As I look back at what we have accomplished, it gives me pause.
We also say goodbye to Katrina Denza, Vice-President and Writer-in-Residence and Literary Chair (6 years), Dotty Starling, Archivist Librarian and James Boyd Book Club Chair (6 years), Talmadge Ragan, Literary Hall of Fame Chair (6 years), Marty Dickinson, Secretary, House Chair and Christmas Shoppe Chair (3 years), Carol Westerly, Women of Weymouth Chair, Christmas House Co-Chair (2 years). In September we said goodbye to Shane English, Vice-President and Landscape Committee (6+ years) as well as Mike Malone Garden and Grounds chair (3 years). I’d like to share some highlights achieved during our stewardship reflecting the combined efforts of the board, the staff, our volunteers, and you, our membership over the past six years. I am certain to have forgotten some, so please forgive me.
We branded Weymouth with a logo, created a website, launched a Facebook page and Instagram presence. We are regular contributors to The Pilot, and areas papers and news sites including Moore Choices and The Pines Times. We launched the Weymouth Dispatch, our weekly newsletter. We have a self-guided house tour, created two new membership campaigns, embraced online banking, digital payments, online membership and donations, digital calendar, digital files, updated office, operations and business system, we improved internet connectivity. We have full-time front office management. We approved a long-range strategic plan. We started a corporate sponsorship program. We created and launched The Bridge campaign to see us through the hard days of COVID.
We expanded music programming to include Classical Music Sunday’s, Song Circle, Great American Songbook, Sounds on the Grounds, and special concerts, including jazz and the Junior Strings Orchestra. Musicians may now apply to the residency program.
The Women of Weymouth expanded their membership and activities including integrating into the community by participating in Holly Fest, Sunrise Market Place, Spring Fest. They redesigned Christmas House and have the new Holiday Festival (delayed from 2020) online. WOW added to our fun with Ladies Wine Out, the Fascinator Workshop, Pick Up and Picnic Dinners, Holiday Cookie Sale and other new special events. They have created a series of Weymouth products including tote bags, soaps and two sets of note cards with more items planned for Spring Fest.
Our literary accomplishments include developing our Writer-in-Residence program into a strong and nearly fully booked program (pre-covid) of 1-2 weeklong residencies serving all levels of writers including NY Times bestsellers and emerging writers, many of whom include Weymouth in their acknowledgements. Several bestselling authors have returned for special Weymouth fundraisers. The Writer-in-Residence Readings were reinstated and have a constant audience. A production of the play, The Native, was presented to 800 Pinecrest High School Students. The Cos Barnes Fellowship was established, and we, in conjunction with the NC Poetry Society, are co-sponsors of the Susan Laughter Meyers Fellowship. We host the residency for the Linda Flowers Award winner, sponsored by the NC Humanities Council, and we are the original home of AIMS Authors in Moore County program and our James Boyd Book Club has a dedicated following.
Historical records have been cleaned up and organized, an improved archival system is in place. We have expanded our collection of original Boyd items. The books and furnishing belonging to the town in the library have been inventoried. Articles about Weymouth’s history have been published and radio time has been dedicated to our history. Our By-Laws were updated.
The ever-growing plant sale has blossomed these past years into a major fundraiser. Through the work of our Dirt Gardeners, other volunteers, and grant-funded improvements, the grounds look the best they ever have. New plantings greet you at the entrance, the long beds were moved and fully redesigned for improved mobility and beauty. Many dead and infested trees and shrubs have been removed. The board funded the new Ridge Street fence and the Connecticut Avenue fence was repaired. The barn and surrounding areas have been cleaned of decades-old debris, and decaying paddock fencing removed. During this past COVID year, the grounds provided a nurturing space for yoga participants and other therapeutic activities.
Grants have allowed for completing long-deferred major capital improvements to the Boyd House. The Carriage House was re-roofed and our first ADA assessable restroom installed. The Carriage House has a new prep kitchen. The Boyd House has new shutters, restored windows, new gutters, and our roof fixed. We sand-blasted and repainted the peeling kitchen wing. We have new HVAC systems. The main floor floors were refurbished. Rooms have been painted and downstairs powder rooms improved, which required extensive plumbing work and new toilets. The basement was cleaned out. We upgraded Writer-in-Residence Rooms with improved furnishings, new mattresses and linens. Our front office has improved office furnishings.
The Arts and Humanities Lecture Series returned with sold-out seasons. We’ve had Galas and Heritage Affairs, paintings inspired by and created for Weymouth, Murder Mystery Dinner Party, and Brinkley Boyd Book written by Annie Hallinan for a special fundraiser. We held a Rock’n Roll Raffle. We collaborated with The Pilot to host the special Publisher lecture and hosted The Country Bookshop’s Vivian Howard event in the aftermath of a huge hurricane. We’ve launched books, held art lectures, and showcased the award-winning Pinecrest Speech and Debate Team. We have hosted beautiful and historic 300-person Literary Hall of Fame Inductions. We have collaborated with other non-profits, businesses, organizations and local schools on projects and programs.
We have worked through hurricane damage and clean-up, tornados, snowstorms, ice-storms and power outages. We’ve had MTV film onsite, Our State magazine filmed a section featuring Weymouth, The Tarheel Traveler featured Christmas House, a movie was filmed with Weymouth locals as extras, and our first ED, Abigail Dowd, a talented musician, filmed her just-released video and album here (see link below) and will be doing a concert here in the near future.
I never thought I’d be up on the roof, crawling into the attics, wearing waders in a flooded basement, painting rooms, hosting 300 person events, acting in a Murder-Mystery, breaking down stages, or trying to figure out how to position Weymouth to survive during a pandemic when I accepted the role. However, I have enjoyed every minute. It has truly been an honor to serve this important institution. I look forward to helping in other ways in the future. I thank each of you for your support of this fabulous home we call Weymouth.
Kathryn Talton Friend of Weymouth, Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities
"Beautiful Day" by Abigail Dowd
Moore County Writing Competition
Wrtiers: we don't have ALL the details yet but we will be having a writing competition for writers in Moore County. Age groups are first grade through adult and categories are poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Hone your work now - entries will be accepted at the end of the summer. More information to come.
James Boyd Book Club
Save the date: April 20 and May 18 at 2PM. Attendees are invited talk to the group about a book by a North Carolina writer that they recommend. Bring your face mask, please.
Weymouth Center has opened the Writers-In-Residence application process. Please visit the website for information and online: click here.
Ladies Wine Out!
Save the date: Thursday, May 6th at 5:30PM. Wine, hors d'oeuvres & fun. Tickets will be on sale soon.
Weymouth members - This year's plant sale is by appointment only.
Please call Linda Gibbs to reserve your spot: 585-737-1976; April 13 or 14, between 9AM - 3PM. Nonmembers may shop by appointment on April 17 or 18, from 10AM - 2PM.
We are still collecting items for garden white elephant sale. If you have items such as: garden decorations, tools in working order, unused pots, watering cans, bird feeders, bird baths, miscellaneous landscaping items, please contact Kathy Luckhaus at (910-986-3009) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of The Girls in the Stilt House with autographed bookplates are available through The Country Bookshop. 10% discount with Weymouth Center membership!
Your membership is a vital part of sustaining the Weymouth Center for our community and future generations. To renew your membership or for more ways to become a monthly donor or sustaining member, please call or visit the membership page on the Weymouth website. weymouthcenter.org/join Thank you for your support!