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Arts chief – Focus on fundraising

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By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. – The Durham Arts Council has named Sherry DeVries, executive director of the Hinsdale Center for the Arts in suburban Chicago, as its new executive director.

DeVries, a native of Lenoir, N.C., who starts work Mar. 1, succeeds E’Vonne Coleman, who resigned last year to become assistant director for the office of continuing education and summer session at Duke University.

Lucy Grant, president of the council’s board and director of activities at The Forest at Duke retirement community, says a big challenge for DeVries will be fundraising in the face of declining corporate support.

“Fundraising in general is going to have to take a new look in general at new ideas to sustain not-for-profit organizations,” she says.

Another challenge, she says, will be to involve the council in development of a cultural arts plan for the county that will be funded through a increase – to 6 percent from 5 percent – in the county occupancy tax approved last week by the Durham County Board of Commissioners.

DeVries for eight years has headed an organization that serves DuPage County and western Cook County, which have a combined population of nearly one million people.

The Hinsdale Center for the Arts serves two roles – providing about $150,000 a year in funds to local arts groups and other agencies, and providing programs and classes for adults and children.

The center raises roughly 40 percent of its $1 million annual budget through fundraising, and finances the remainder through earned income from festivals, classes and exhibitions, she says.

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