Arts Council Names New Center ‘Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts’
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., July 21 /PRNewswire/ — The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will name its new arts center in downtown Winston-Salem “Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts” in honor of its current President and CEO.
Tonya Deem, Arts Council chair, said, “The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County has been fortunate to have Milton Rhodes serve twice as its President and CEO. Milton has long been considered one of the most capable and visionary leaders in the American arts community. It is with pride that The Arts Council’s Board of Trustees names The Center for him.”
The opening of The Center is scheduled for early September and will be celebrated by several days of events, including a gala with entertainment by a nationally acclaimed performer and two community days of free activities and entertainment.
“Saying that I am honored is understatement,” said Rhodes. “Being recognized in such a significant way in the place that I call home and that has had a special place in my heart all my adult life is overwhelming. I deeply appreciate the action of The Arts Council’s Board of Trustees, and like so many people in our city and county, I can’t wait to see the doors swing open on The Center in September. In my mind, this amazing new facility is the beginning of a new era for arts, culture and community life in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.”
Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, which includes the historic Sawtooth Building, was designed jointly by Winston-Salem architectural firms, Calloway Johnson Moore & West and Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce. General contractor is Frank L. Blum Construction of Winston-Salem. The 83,000 sq. ft. Center includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for Sawtooth Center for Visual Art; the 21,500 sq. ft. Hanesbrands black-box theatre; Reynolds Place meeting and event venue; two new gallery and exhibition spaces; and a Spruce Street main entrance with horseshoe drive and dramatic canopy.
Rhodes grew up in North Charleston, South Carolina. He graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg and then enrolled at New York University where he received the Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Management. At NYU, Rhodes served an internship with the Winston-Salem Symphony in the city where his wife Mattie, a flutist, had attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 1971, after service in the Army Finance Corps, he landed the job of Executive Director of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. He was 26 years old.
For nearly 40 years. Rhodes has been a mainstay of the nation’s arts and cultural community and one of America’s most distinguished nonprofit advocates and administrators. He has served twice as President and CEO of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County – from 1971 to 1985 and then returning in October 2004.
Capitalizing on his vision and leadership, The Arts Council has transformed Winston-Salem into the “City of Arts and Innovation(TM)” by raising funds to initiate, grow and sustain hundreds of arts and cultural organizations; advocating for a knowledge-based economy with a strong creative class; building arts spaces that allow for innovative arts programming; enhancing relationships between government, public and private sectors; championing infrastructure projects that bring vibrancy to Winston-Salem and enhance its brand; and exploring new technologies that change how people learn about and participate in arts and culture.
Rhodes was President and CEO of the American Council for the Arts, now Americans for The Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advancing arts in America, with offices in Washington and New York. While at Americans for the Arts, Rhodes started “Arts Advocacy Day” that has become the leading opportunity for more than 600 arts organizations and individuals to meet Congressional leaders to raise issues of national concern related to arts and culture. He also helped establish The Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy, a leading national forum for arts policy intended to stimulate dialogue on policy and social issues affecting the arts.
Rhodes is known for his fundraising prowess. As General Manager of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, he raised $12 million in 18 months to save the financially starved organization and continue to sustain one of the most critically acclaimed arts festivals in the world.
Since 2008, Rhodes has spearheaded a Comprehensive Campaign that with the help of hundreds of local volunteers has raised almost $26 million. A portion of the funds raised will transform a city block in downtown Winston-Salem into a gleaming new, multi-functional arts space to be called the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. The Campaign has grown the annual fund that supports more than 78 arts and cultural institutions in the city; establish a significant endowment to fund the arts into the future; and create a marketing effort to brand Winston-Salem as “City of Arts and Innovation.”.
Beyond the arts, Rhodes has worked with nonprofit operations that educate children, provide medical care and enhance the wellbeing of citizens around the world. He has held positions with Outward Bound USA and the Northern Westchester Hospital Center Foundation in Kisco, NY, and has served on numerous boards of directors, including The Independent Sector, a leadership forum for more than 600 charities around the world; National Center for Non-Profit Boards, Washington, DC; Give Five Campaign, New York; Brevard Music Center, Brevard, NC; Forsyth Futures; Winston-Salem Tourism Development Authority; Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership; University of North Carolina School of the Arts Board of Visitors; and Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University.
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County was established in 1949 and was the first locally established arts council in the United States. The Arts Council enriches the quality of life for people in Winston-Salem and neighboring communities by raising funds for the arts, advocating for the arts, sponsoring events in conjunction with other arts organizations, providing educational opportunities strengthening cultural resources, developing social capital, and aiding economic development. Its continued effectiveness can be attributed to the thousands of dedicated volunteers and contributors who are firmly committed to the idea that Winston-Salem is the “City of Arts and Innovation.”
SOURCE The Arts Council of Winston-Salem