Arts Council reveals plans for ‘Celebration of the ARTS!’

The Stanly County Arts Council will host the sixth annual “Celebration of the ARTS!” 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center, 26032 Newt Road, Albemarle.

The Celebration of the ARTS! is a free event that is open to the public, showcasing the best of the arts in Stanly County with live performances, information booths from area arts organizations and art- based businesses, art demonstrations, an exhibition of Student Art from all Stanly County schools — elementary through high school and Stanly Community College, plus an opportunity to purchase art from local artists. Creation Station is back — a place where kids can create their own art to take home.

New this year will be a local author table, where individuals can meet and purchase books from published authors from Stanly County, including Denny Hamann, Dr. Avarisse Peterson, Jake Thomas, Janice Cole Hopkins, Susan Pless, and Louisa Parrish.

At noon, the awards ceremony will be on the Lobby Stage to recognize area individuals who have excelled in the arts and have brought the arts to the residents of Stanly County.

The mission of the Stanly County Arts Council is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County.

“We invite the community to come and support our local artists and arts organizations and arts based businesses,” said David Cartrette, chairman of the Stanly County Arts Council.


In the auditorium, the Stanly County Concert Band, South Stanly High School concert band and vocalists and musicians from West Stanly High School will appear. The Stanly County Chorale will perform a sampling of songs from its upcoming concert with the Central Elementary School’s Quarter Notes choir opening for it.

The event will be kicked off with the dancers from Melissa Kathleen’s School of Dance and performances by Miss Stanly County Brook Tomberlin, Miss Lake Tillery Karie Grace Shields, Miss Stanly Teen Lena Preslar, Lake Tillery Teen Morgan Eudy and Miss North Carolina Teen Annika Schneider.

Entertainment will also occur in the lobby with musical performances by the students of Oakboro School of Music, Monday’s Children from Music on Main and the theatrical escapades of the West Stanly Players.

Performance lineups are available online at

Exhibition Booths

By visiting the information booths in the lobby, one will be able to view talented artists at work plus find that perfect piece of art for their home. Artists include Mary Ann Gantt of Thistle Pottery, fiber art and weaving by Anna Walker, the pottery of Rebekah Crisco, Vicki Galloway with her One-stroke masterpieces and graphic artist Michael Mez Phillips, plus a collection of various mediums will be available from the artists of the Stanly Arts Guild. Artists from the Stanly Arts Guild demonstrating their craft will be Michelle Efird and polymer clay creations, Bubba Mullis and woodcarving, Matt Steed with his Native American flutes, dreamcatchers and jewelry and Wendy Hillhouse with jewelry making and journal making techniques.

Juneberry Jams will have information about the upcoming concert series this June at Juneberry Ridge in Norwood.

Meet local authors and learn about their collection of books available for sale.

Friends of the Pfeiffer Library will also have tickets for sale for the Spring Author Luncheon with Denny Hamann.

Need a new instrument or music? Stop and visit with Carole Brown from the Albemarle Music Store. If you want to take music lessons, then check out Music on Main’s booth to find out about vocal and instrument lessons.

If you’ve wanted to become involved with the arts in Stanly County or find out what concerts are coming this spring and summer to Stanly County, then check out the tables from the Stanly County Arts Council, the Stanly County Concert Association, the Stanly County Concert Band and the Stanly County Chorale. If you enjoy theater, then visit the booths from The Uwharrie Players and The Talent Company to find out about their upcoming seasons.

Stanly Arts Guild will be there to promote its artists, upcoming exhibitions and workshops.

The Stanly Community College’s Advertising and Graphic Design will also be available to discuss educational opportunities.

The Friends of the Agri-Civic Center will be on hand to discuss their upcoming projects to keep the Agri-Civic Center an instrumental player for the arts in the community.
Creation Station is back in the lobby with the supplies required and the assistance needed for children to create their own art to take home and enjoy.

Student Art Show

More than 200 pieces of art will be on display throughout the auditorium and lobby of the Agri-Civic Center. Stanly County public elementary, middle and high schools, as well as Carolina Christian, Gray Stone Day High School and Stanly Community College, will be represented.


The Celebration of the ARTS awards ceremony will be at noon on the lobby stage.

“In celebration of the 50th Anniversary, we partnered with Stanly County Schools and conducted a Bookmark Contest for all grade levels. We received amazing entries and it was difficult task to choose just one winner from each grade level. These artists will be honored at the awards ceremony and their winning artwork will also be on display,” said Renee VanHorn, executive director of the Stanly County Arts Council. “We will also recognize all the past recipients of the Arts Educator and Arts Person of the Year as well as the past executive directors of the Stanly County Arts Council, which includes Sandi Kendrick Johnson (1978-2005), Sarah Paynter (2005-2010) and Amanda Rowland (2012-2015). We are so excited to have all these people, so essential to keeping the arts vibrant in Stanly County, on the same stage at the same time, receiving the well-deserved recognition for their contributions to Stanly County.”

The finale will be announcing the recipients of the 2024 Fine Arts Educator of the Year and Arts Person of the Year awards. These awards were created in 2014 by the Arts Council to recognize those who have made a significant positive impact on the arts in Stanly County, and who have worked to support, promote and create quality arts experiences for the whole community.


Raffles will be held with the chance to win classes, artwork, tickets to various productions and more.

Proceeds from the raffles will benefit the Stanly County Arts Council, founded in 1974, which continues to support all art forms in the community. Its mission is to encourage and promote broad-based cultural and educational activities in the arts throughout Stanly County. The Stanly County Arts Council is supported by private donations and by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.