Since its beginnings in 1949 with $7,200 in seed money from the Junior League of Winston-Salem, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County became the first locally established arts council in the United States. The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County continues to be a model for similar organizations throughout the country. Since its origin, The Arts Council has gained a reputation as an effective and efficient organization to marshal support for the arts. Throughout the decades, The Arts Council has provided proactive leadership, sparked cultural growth and provided funds through grant programs to create a flourishing cultural environment.
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.”
Through strategic planning in the arts community, starting with The Arts Council itself, and wise investment of Arts Council funds, Winston-Salem can continue to be “The City of Arts and Innovation” with a thriving, engaged, and vibrant arts community. In this process, The Arts Council strives to be – and to be perceived as being – the responsible leader of and principal advocate for a formal, collaborative relationship between the public and private sectors to raise funds and allocate resources to arts organizations that are fulfilling their expressed missions and their commitments to the community.