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United Arts Council


New Year for United Arts Board 

A new fiscal year for United Arts means new leadership for the United Arts Board of Directors. It also means saying good-bye to a few of our trusted members who have helped shape the future of the arts in Wake County.
Please welcome our newly elected officers for 2020-2021:

Ryan Cottrell, Chair
Kay Bailey, Chair-Elect
Erika M. Rosenthal, Vice-Chair Admin
Andrea Kanter, Vice-Chair Development
Lizette Cruz Watko, Vice-Chair Grants
Michele Tylka, Secretary
Seth Palmer, Treasurer
Mark Steward, Immediate Past Chair
United Arts thanks our departing board members whose work will never be forgotten. We extend our most sincere thanks to the following members:
Quote from outgoing board member
A member since 2017, Susan Edwards Batchelor served as Development Chair and was an integral part of our grants process each year. When asked about her time at United Arts, Susan said, "United Arts Council brings people together, makes our county beautiful, and provokes thoughtful discussion. It has been an honor to be a board member of an organization that positively affects all Wake County residents, whether they realize it or not."

Adrienne Kelly-Lumpkin served two terms on the board as a past chair in 2018, the chair of the recent search committee for our new president, and as an active member involved with marketing, fundraising, and grant panels. United Arts will forever be grateful for Adrienne's service and support. She has left an indelible impression on the arts in Wake County. Adrienne commented, "There is no more gratifying experience than to see the look of wonder on elementary students participating in an Artists in Schools production.... I have learned as much as I have given and will continue ... to do my part so that THE ARTS will continue to flourish in our community."

Diane Kuehn, member of the board since 2017, has been supportive of our Guess Who? fundraisers and served on several grant panels during her tenure. When asked about the future of the arts in Wake County, Diane said, "I believe that Wake County can become the Southern center for the arts, and the best way to achieve this is by setting high expectations, exposing and educating our younger generations, and funding these initiatives. Thank you, United Arts Council, for your leadership in achieving this vision!"

Martin Seligson is a longtime supporter of United Arts and a two-term board member who was always ready to lend a helping hand. United Arts will miss his marketing expertise and his dedication to the success of our Guess Who? fundraisers, as well as his voice on the recent search committee for our new president.

Kal Trinkner has been a part of the United Arts board for the past six years. As a member of the finance committee and supporter of our Guess Who? fundraisers, Kal has been an invaluable advocate for the arts in Wake County.

We wish all of our outgoing board members continued success as they move on to their next endeavors, and we know they will continue to be champions for the arts in Wake County. 


Artists in Schools Expo: Stay at Home Edition

Artists in Schools Expo
The Artists in Schools Expo (formerly known as the Cultural Arts Booking Fair) occurs annually, bringing together artists and community members who schedule cultural arts programming. In response to the changing needs of our community, the United Arts staff will offer a series of virtual events to take the place of the Artists in Schools 2020 Expo. The series will feature over 50 Artists in Schools artists over the course of five days in August.
What: Artists in Schools 2020 Expo: Stay at Home Edition
When: August 6 – 15, 2020
Where: The comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be

As always, our Artists in Schools Expo is free and open to the public. Representatives from schools (faculty, administration, PTA), organizations, communities, venues, parks, businesses, and children are all welcome to attend!

To learn more about the Artists in Schools Expo and obtain specific days/times, contact Julia Mastropaolo at or (919) 839-1498, ext. 210.


Wake County Supports the Arts!

Many thanks to all of you who reached out to the Wake County Board of Commissioners on behalf of United Arts! Earlier this week, they voted to fund the arts for FY 21, and we are most grateful. If you have a chance, please reach out to your commissioner and share your appreciation. We are so thankful for our elected officials and county staff for their service during these challenging times.


NEA Grant to Support Artists in Schools

Carlota Santana at Brooks Elem
We are excited to announce that United Arts will receive $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through its CARES Act funding.

This grant will go to our Artists in Schools program which provides grants to schools in Wake County for curriculum-based performances, workshops/residencies, and writer residencies led by professional teaching artists.

In the past, the Artists in Schools program, provided more than 120,000 Wake County school children the opportunity to see a theater, dance or music performance, or receive a week-long artist visit each year. Although this school year will be different, United Arts and its teaching artists are hard at work modifying and creating programs that can be included during the school day. (photo: Carlota Santana Spanish Dance Company at Brooks Elementary last year)


Brandi Neuwirth Leaving United Arts

It is with mixed emotions that we announce that Brandi Neuwirth is leaving United Arts to start a new job in marketing and e-commerce for The Green Chair Project. As Community Art Coordinator since 2014, Brandi was instrumental in launching two new programs: Municipal Murals which includes six new murals throughout Wake County and our Artist in Residence program that included a costume designer last year and a photographer who spent this year documenting the arts in Wake County.

Reflecting on her time at United Arts, Brandi said, "We truly have an amazing arts community in Wake County. It was a pleasure to work with incredibly talented artists across all disciplines and my dedicated colleagues."

Although we will miss Brandi's talent and vision at United Arts, we know that her new position is an amazing opportunity for her, and we wish her boundless success in this next chapter of her life. 


High School Arts Credit Now Required

Arts NC photo: High School Arts Credit Now Required
All students in the state of North Carolina will now have to earn an arts credit before they graduate high school. Roy Cooper has signed Senate Bill 681 into law which creates an Arts High School Graduation Requirement. For over a decade ARTS North Carolina has been working for this vital arts education legislation that gives students equitable access to quality arts instruction. United Arts President, Charles Phaneuf, recently joined the Arts North Carolina board and is excited to be a part of this major victory for arts education.


August First Friday Coming Soon

First Friday Raleigh Virtual photo
To keep the energy and community of First Friday alive, United Arts and its First Friday partners have been hosting virtual First Fridays since April. United Arts has featured amazing teaching artists, talented student writers and artists from Wake County public schools, and an online art exhibition paired with a tasty wine tasting. Please mark your calendars for our August Virtual First Friday on August 7th at 6:00 pm. More details to follow. (photo courtesy of Downtown Raleigh Alliance website)
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United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County

410 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 170
Raleigh, North Carolina  27603

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