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Moving ahead

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Arts council searching for CEO, working to boost donor base.

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. [06.07.04] — In the wake of the departure in late March of its president and CEO, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County is searching for a successor, working to boost its donor base and developing plans for a new visual and performing arts complex.

A search by a committee chaired by Peggy Joines, senior vice president/human resources manager for Wachovia Corp., expects to take at least six months to find a successor to Robert Chumbley, who resigned to become general director of the Cleveland Opera on April 1, says Stephanie Nelson, director of marketing and grants.

The arts council has named Bonnie Poindexter, retired executive director of the Greater Triad Chapter of the March of Dimes, as interim director.

The group also has hired Christopher T. Teague, former president and co-owner of REaLIS Gallery in Winston-Salem, as campaign manager, mainly responsible for workplace campaigns.

With an annual budget of $2.5 million, the arts council early this year kicked off its annual fund drive with a goal of $1,905,000, the same goal as last year, which it exceeded by $3,000.

The entire drive already has raised about $815,000, or 43 percent of the overall goal, Alexovich says.

The drive targets roughly 140 workplaces, including roughly 60 public and private schools, and roughly 80 corporations and businesses, says George Alexsovich, vice president of development and marketing.

“We’re attempting to provide as much support and contact as we can to make sure these campaigns are as successful as we can help them to be,” he says.

To boost giving to the drive, BB&T and Wachovia Bank each has agreed to give $10,000 to match new giving, mainly at small businesses.

The arts council also is encouraging existing and past donors to renew and increase the size of their gifts, and is prospecting for new donors, Alexsovich says.

The group plans to send several mail appeals to individual, including those who have given in the past but did not make a gift last year.

A core group of individual donors are those who make gifts of $1,000 of more, which totaled 210 last year, Alexsovich says.

And the council, which has seen funding from local, state and federal governments decline to nearly $176,000 each of the past two years from just over $271,500 four years ago, is moving ahead with planning for a possible new arts complex on property it owns that is home to the Sawtooth Building and to the adjacent AC Delco building it acquired for $550,000 earlier this year.

Four arts agencies housed in the Hanes Community Center on Coliseum Drive that the arts council jointly manages with United Way of Forsyth County and the Winston-Salem Foundation would move to the new complex, which also would be home to two arts agencies now located in the Sawtooth Building.

The council’s facilities committee, chaired by attorney Garry Whitaker, is planning the new facility, with the help of Chapel Hill consultant Robert Long and Winston-Salem architecture firm Calloway Johnson Moore & West, and input from current tenants.

It is not clear yet whether the council, which leases offices on Fourth Street downtown, would move to the new complex.

The council has not yet set a timetable, pricetag and fundraising strategy for the new complex.

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