Principal Operations and Strategy

“Touching Every Corner” of our community with the beneficial impacts of the arts

The Arts Council’s mission and work are broadly focused on our community’s amazing collection of vibrant and diverse arts organizations and individual artists, which we call the “arts constellation”.  We are an essential element of the arts constellation, and our core strategy and multi-faceted operations are integral to the community's dynamic arts and culture scene.

We support, enhance and extend the myriad beneficial impacts of the arts throughout our diverse community, “touching every corner” and advancing the community’s franchise as the “City of Arts & Innovation” and its strategic agenda as a great place to live, work, learn and play.  We do the following and more.

The Arts Council raises and distributes substantial funds through several grant programs and initiatives that have provided over $18 million of funding over the past 10 years. In our last fiscal year cycle (2018 to 2019) alone, we provided over $ 1.2 million in grants and other direct financial support to 43 arts organizations and 26 individual artists. Grants Information

We also provide other multi-faceted services that support and promote the arts constellation. Such other services include our ownership and operation of strategic facilities and venues that provide several dynamic spaces for artistic performances, presentations, events and other activities. Events Information

North Carolina Black Rep
The Little Theatre
Old Salem
Piedmont Craftsmen
Piedmont Opera
Festival Ballet
WS Symphony

The Arts Council’s operations reflect our community’s strategic decision to develop and enhance a series of small and intimate performing venues that focus on the needs of the community’s numerous, high-quality, resident arts organizations and artists who provide programming across a broad spectrum of theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts genres. Our venues are integral to the ongoing revitalization of downtown.

In our last fiscal year cycle (2018 to 2019), over 1,000 public productions and exhibitions were held in venues owned and operated by The Arts Council. Our 2019 transforming strategic additions and enhancements to our facilities will increase those numbers significantly in future years, when the "new normal" emerges in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Events Information


In addition to providing venues for theatrical, musical and other artistic performances and exhibitions, our array of multi-functional facilities provide for the staging and hosting of numerous cultural festivals and series and other major community events. Such major events have included The National Black Theatre Festival; the River Run International Film Festival; the Hispanic League’s Fiesta; and Bookmarks’ annual Festival of Books and Authors. 

Our facilities also provide – on a cost-savings basis that confers significant indirect financial benefits – the administrative “home” for several arts organizations. These organizations include The Sawtooth School for Visual Art and its diverse offerings of instruction and programming, the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and Associated Artists of Winston-Salem.   Facilities Information


Beyond the above services and activities, The Arts Council is a key convener and facilitator for collaborative conversations and collective capacity building among multiple arts organizations in the community. We help them find ways to benefit through collaborative efforts and shared services, without compromising their respective programming missions and objectives. 

In embracing its role as a key element of the arts constellation – as an essential supporter and advocate for sustaining the vibrancy and diversity of the arts and culture in our community – The Arts Council is also intently focused on enhancing and augmenting the following other services:

  • We are helping to identify, validate and support new or special initiatives that expand the reach and deepen the impact of the arts in our community, and that keep our community on the cutting edge of art and cultural developments.


  • We are facilitating the deep-dive research, critical analysis and systematic planning that are required to convert the appealing concept of “shared services” into an effective reality that delivers tangible cost-saving benefits to our partner arts organizations.


  • We are developing strategies and initiatives to help lead a community-wide pursuit of substantially increased public sector financial support for the arts as good government and good business.

  • We are helping develop strategies to support recruitment and retention by local businesses, colleges and other institutions.


  • We are devoting special attention to helping the arts teach our children and develop their skills, imagination and potential, for therein lies the ultimate fate of our community’s future.

​We are uniquely situated to perform these services. They are mission-critical functions of The Arts Council as a key element of our community's arts constellation.