As leaders of the Cabarrus Arts Council look toward the local future of the arts, they want young professionals to be more engaged.
That’s why the decades-old nonprofit last fall created Art on Tap, a paid membership group for 20- and 30-somethings who want to help guide the county’s arts hub.
The Arts Council’s efforts help expose about 300,000 people to the arts each year through school performances, exhibitions, live professional performances, art walks, education events and more.
The purpose of the young adult group is to develop arts leaders while raising awareness about the Arts Council.
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Lisa Baker McCombs, 30, operations director of the Cabarrus Arts Council, will be staff liaison for the Art on Tap steering committee.
“Art on Tap’s efforts are important to me because they encourage the future of the arts in our community,” McCombs said. “As it looks toward the future of the arts in Cabarrus County, and its own future, the Cabarrus Arts Council identified more involvement from young adults – people in their 20s and 30s – as a goal.”
The next Art on Tap event will be Feb. 5 at The Galleries in downtown Concord. Dubbed “Art & Ale,” it will feature beer tasting and will allow guests to view the new “Interactive Lines” exhibition. It will even offer people the chance to create their own art.
Professional artist Paul Keysar will work with guests in a “drawing room” – a converted art gallery – where people can draw on the walls. Keysar has exhibited in The Galleries multiple times and plans to be an avid supporter of Art on Tap.
“I appreciate the opportunity to encourage interest in and understanding of the arts,” Keysar said. “The common misconception is that art is too expensive, out of reach and hard to understand. This exhibition is encouraging dialog through interaction.
“Art on Tap is encouraging people my age to get involved in the arts.”
Rebecca Collins, the Arts Council’s visual arts director, said the effort aims to make art more accessible and less intimidating.
“The drawing room encourages everyone to be creative, to become an artist and be a part of the exhibiting artists in The Galleries,” Collins said.
“We are partnering with Li’l Robert’s Place (a craft beer bar) and Ford Craven (a leader in a local home-brewing club) to coordinate our beer tasting,” Collins said. “They have a great craft beer selection and are knowledgeable on beer tastings and what our guests would enjoy.”
Hunter Huss and Meredith Beregovski are co-chairs of Art on Tap. Because young adults represent the future of the community, the duo hope to develop leaders who stay engaged and want to help plan future arts programming for young adults and families.
“Since this is our first year, our goal is to build our membership base so our future group efforts will be strengthened by the number of participants,” Huss said. “We hope to have 100 members by the end of June, and these kickoff events are helping us reach that goal.”
The first Art on Tap event, in October, drew about 120 people. The group now has about 40 members. The first Art on Tap event featured live music and a photo station with props. Local businesses donated food and drinks. Organizers hope to add 25 members at each event.
Art on Tap members also will take on a project annually, Huss said. This year, members will bring classic cult films and family movies to the Davis Theatre for residents to view next fall.
At the upcoming Art of Tap event, attendees can look for a “voting station,” where they can provide recommendations for that film series. Guests at film showings will be encouraged to dress up according to various themes in the selected films.
It is not necessary to be an Art on Tap member to participate in its events, but member benefits range from exclusive parties and discounts to volunteer opportunities and helping select the lineup of performers who come to the Davis Theatre.
“Art on Tap encourages the future of the arts in Cabarrus County, as we plan fun ways to develop arts leaders, assist with arts council planning and community awareness,” McCombs said.
“A group designed for and by young adults, our members come from diverse backgrounds and share a common interest in the arts and in making an impact on our community.”