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Our Story 

On August 9, 1949, Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County became the first locally-established arts council in the United States. The Junior League of Winston-Salem brought national community arts consultant Virginia Lee Comer to town in 1943 to study the cultural life of the community. Her strategy for cultural planning was to build connections between the community and its arts activities. Seed money of $7,200 was set aside by the Junior League in 1946, and in 1949, representatives from twelve cultural groups convened to form the arts council.


Our earliest purpose was "to serve those members and to plan, coordinate, promote, and sponsor the opportunity for, and the appreciation of, cultural activities in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County."

As the chief advocate of arts and culture in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, we are eager to push our arts and cultural sector to the next level. This will require us to explore new ideas, expand our reach, and respond to needs of our community through the lens of arts, culture, and creativity.

Value Proposition

Arts Council is the chief advocate of the arts and cultural sector in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Our goal is to serve as a leader in lifting up, creating awareness and providing support to grow and sustain artistic, cultural and creative offerings throughout our region.


We acknowledge that it takes every voice, every talent, and every story to make our community a great place to live, work, and play. Arts Council is committed to serving as a facilitator, organizer, and promoter of conversations that are authentic, inclusive, and forward-thinking.

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