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Arts Together charting new course

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Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. – Educator Meg Revelle joined the board of directors of Arts Together in the late 1990s, and served a second stint in the early 2000s.

In 1993, at age 3, her oldest daughter starting taking dance classes at Arts Together, volunteered as a counselor assistant teaching dance at age 14, and now is a modern-dance major in college.

And her son, who as a child took drama classes at Arts Together, now is a high-school drama buff.

“One thing that makes us special is that we continue to attract generations of families,” says Revelle, who in November was named the organization’s executive director.

Arts Together also has launched its inaugural annual-fund campaign.

While in the past it has raised money when it faced a particular need, such as a new piece of equipment, the organization has not run an annual fund drive.

“The board recognized the need to provide for the financial stability of the organization,” says Joe Stewart, a board member, chair of its development committee and associate vice president and director of the political education program at the North Carolina Chamber.

Key to the effort will be recruiting 35 to 40 donors to give at least $500 each to qualify as members of a new “leadership circle.”

Funds from the annual fund will be used to support scholarships, outreach programs in the community, and any educational, infrastructure or software needs.

Founded in 1983 and operating with an annual budget of $650,000 and a staff of seven people plus 25 teachers, Arts Together serves roughly 1,200 students from age 3 to their 60s through a pre-school program, afternoon and evening classes, and summer classes and camps for teen and adult dancers.

The main sources of financial support for the organization are the city of Raleigh, based on recommendations from the Raleigh Arts Commission; United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County; and North Carolina Arts Council.

The group also generates revenue from tuition fees and receives support from individuals and corporations.

Revelle, who has taught graphic design at N.C. State University, Meredith College and Peace College, and co-founded and is co-owner of Forma, a Raleigh-based strategic marketing firm, says her top long-term goals for Arts Together are to increase its visibility by telling its story, widen its reach, and nurture and develop collaborative partnerships in the community.

In September, for example, Arts Together received $16,500 from the North Carolina Arts Council to train dance educators, dance artists and others in a multi-disciplinary approach to creating movement-based art for youth who have physical disabilities, developmental disorders, challenges with learning, or emotional or behavioral disorders.

For the project, Arts Together will be fostering partnerships with The Arc of Wake County, Bugg Creative Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School, Enloe High School, Governor Morehead School for the Blind, and Mariposa School for Children with Autism.

“The key,” Revelle says, “is to become known as leaders in arts education in this multi-disciplinary approach.”

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