Tuscaloosa Arts Council showcases student workBy Margaret Wilbourne | 09/03/2014 11:06pm
For Tuscaloosa citizens and UA students, the colorful world of artists, musicians, visual performers and writers has been kept contained under what Kevin Ledgewood, the publicist for the Tuscaloosa Arts Council, describes as an “umbrella organization."
“Since 1970, the mission has been to promote arts in Tuscaloosa County,” Ledgewood said. “[We do this] through the support of its 50 member organizations, the management of the Bama Theatre, the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center and educational programming.”
Alongside the Bama Art House film series, First Fridays and Art Nights, the TAC provides opportunities for UA students' work to be displayed.
“We’re very happy we can offer the exhibition space and the Acoustic Nights at the Bama Theatre,” he said. “[We also host] the Double Exposure photography contest and the Visual Arts Achievement Awards.”
The educational outreaches of the TAC include the Bama Fanfare and Spectra programs, which interact with the schools of Tuscaloosa.
“The Fanfare program allows students to take field trips to the Bama Theatre to watch performances, and the Fanfare Caravan brings these theater groups to schools,” Ledgewood said.
Besides community backing and outreach programs, the TAC also hosts a small grants program, which awards grants to small non-profit individuals and organizations to give back to the community. This support continues to occasionally provide internship opportunities to UA students with backgrounds and interests in art.
Danny Ryan, a senior majoring in telecommunications and film, is one of the TAC’s new interns. He said TAC looks for experience, an interest in working with the arts and having a broad understanding of the different avenues art can take.
“I’m interested in working to know more about film and film programming, so I’ll mainly work tech in the Bama Theatre, as well as to help select the films to show,” Ryan said.
Katharine Buckley, a senior majoring in studio art, is the other half of the council’s new internship pair and will be working with Ryan on the artist profiles, focusing more on the perspective of the films.
“I’ll also be working with First Fridays at the Dinah Washington Center, where there’s an open theater,” Buckley said. “I’ll be organizing the interactive and musical performances in the black box stage.”
Both interns are frequenters of the TAC’s events, and see an importance in its mission.
“They are really respected in the arts community, and a great unifying source of everything that’s already happening,” Buckley said. “If there weren’t an arts council, there would be less going on and less of a sense of community between artists.”
“The Arts Council is important to the community because it provides cultural and arts events,” Ryan said. “It’s good for Tuscaloosa to have something creative; it [keeps] the city more diverse.”
This creative diversity is a main goal of the TAC and something the council hopes will continue to benefit students.
“In college, you’re in a bubble, you make it to football games and restaurants, and there’s not much of a connection to the community,” Ledgewood said. “We offer students a bridge to local culture, an important thing.”
For more information about the Tuscaloosa Art Council’s programs and community involvement, visit tuscarts.org.