With a song, a limerick and a champagne toast, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County kicked off its 2020 fundraising campaign on Monday at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts.
Aliza’ Diggs-Bailey, vice president of fundraising, announced that the goal for the “2020 Clear Vision” Community Fund for the Arts campaign would be the same as last year’s — $2.5 million. The arts council missed that goal by $250,000 in 2019.
“We could have aimed lower to guarantee success in reaching it,” said Randy Eaddy, president and chief executive of the arts council. “But that would not be real success. … Our vibrant and diverse arts constellation needs us to aim high and raise the maximum we can to support the arts, helping them ‘touch every corner’ of our community.”
Out in the Arboreal Gallery, many of the organizations that the arts council supports were present, including the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem and Sawtooth School for Visual Art.
While attendees snacked on heavy hors d’eouvres from The Porch, Jazmine Moore painted the event as it was happening and caricaturist Erik Huffine made quick sketches of the guests for tips. The event was open to the public.
Inside the Reynolds Place Theatre, two recent grant recipients showed the audience some of the talents that their donations support.
Mary D. Williams, a singer and Wells Fargo Arts-in-Education grantee, belted out a “I Wanna Be Ready,” a spiritual that originated in the Bible, endured through slave times and, in the mid-20th century, became a civil-rights anthem.
Then she taught it to the audience, so that they could experience for themselves the unifying power of music.
“We will leave here having had an experience that no one else has had,” Williams said. Then she sang another inspiring song, “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around,” and told how those songs can change from situation to situation to help people in the moment when…