The clanging sounds of metal against metal reverberate through the Welborn Gallery where the current exhibit Stitching Generations Together – A Show of Quilts hangs softly on the barnwood-cladded walls. Local contractors Dorsett Technologies of Yadkinville and Johnson Modern Electric of East Bend have begun work on multiple HVAC systems inside the hollow shell of what will be the only performing arts theater in Yadkin County.
John Willingham, Yadkin Arts Council board president states, “We are 40% toward our capital campaign goal of $852,000 for phase II of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center - construction of the performing arts theater. The public giving stage has just begun with the mailing of ‘Raise the Curtain’ solicitation letters to our supporters. We are hopeful that by next fall we will open the theater to the public.”
The interior outfitting of the theater occurs incrementally as funds become available. The theater will seat 192; it will be the only public performance stage in Yadkin County. The theater offers the community a personal stage for piano recitals, student plays and Friday night family movies and professional performances of live music, dramas and musicals, and the annual Bluegrass Competition sponsored yearly by the Arts Council. The theater provides a stage for the rich cultural heritage of the region.
The Yadkin Cultural Arts Center opened in September, 2010 after a four-year capital campaign. The decision to divide the construction into two phases and open the Center when all parts except the theater were completed offered the community space to gather, have a bite to eat, see numerous visual arts exhibits, attend artist classes, third Friday events and hold community meetings in the classrooms, while funds were being raised for Phase II, theater construction. In the current economic environment with many grant funds drying up and no public monies being accessed for the Center the timeline for financing the theater had to be extended.
Phase I includes the Welborn Gallery, the Third Branch Café, classrooms for community use, staff offices for the Yadkin Arts Council, an outdoor plaza and performance stage and working artist studios, dubbed YARD for Yadkin Artists Residing Downtown and the YARD Gift Shop.
The Yadkin Arts Council is the custodian of the Center. The 10,000 square foot building, formerly Whiff’s Restaurant, was gutted and completely renovated over the course of one year’s time, from October 2009 to September, 2010. The Center complex provides a home for the arts in Yadkin County. It has created a sense of vibrancy of place and a drive for economic redevelopment in an underserved rural region of the state.
The Yadkin Arts Council’s mission is: To enrich the lives of every citizen of Yadkin County through a broad variety of arts programs that touch, inspire and involve creative spirits of all ages and all backgrounds. www.yadkinarts.org