Steelville Arts Council members gathered on January 24 for the second annual meeting of the organization that has brought a variety of artistic endeavors to the local community.
“How would you measure success?” asked STARCO Board President Scott Perkins as he addressed those present for the dinner event. “In my opinion, it’s not by the number of achievements, but by the number of lives touched.” He referred to a list of accomplishments for the council in the past two years that was printed on event programs and said, “Think of all the lives touched in those 13 points. From that perspective, we’re two years in, and we’ve accomplished a lot, but we have a lot more to do.”
Items included in the achievements list for 2011 and 2012 were: opening and operating the Yadkin Creek Mercantile, opening and featuring artists at the Evans House Gallery, sponsoring the Great Steelville Canoe Float (sculpture exhibit) for both years, offering summer art education classes during 2012, sponsoring a number of Community Arts Events, sponsoring a Steelville Schools trip to the St. Louis Symphony, sponsoring hanging baskets located on Main Street and placing white wooden trash receptacles there as well, partnering with Gibbs Care Center on a revolving art display, and opening and featuring artists at Gallery Zeke, the latest art space opened on Main Street.
The annual meeting was held at the Meramec Adventure Learning Ranch and featured a social hour, including a silent auction, a social hour with music performed by Tim Bond, Chris Case, and Jamie Smith, and the business meeting.
During the meeting, the floor was opened for public comment and Paul Perkins, long-time resident of Steelville, and father to Scott, was first to offer his opinion on the work of the arts council.
“I’ve lived here all my life,” Paul Perkins said. “I’ve got a new spark and it’s right here. I have never seen people so excited. We’re going strong. I am so proud of this organization. And I’m proud of my son.” He spoke of the importance of community support for the council and it’s work and made a plea to those gathered to continue the good work.
Board member (and artist) Gary Sanders’ wife Beverly Kinkade also spoke to the excitement generated by the newly formed group. The couple resides in the St. Louis area, and Sanders owns a family home on Huzzah Creek. “I have observed over the past two years,” she said. “In 37 years of marriage, I have never seen him so energized and passionate as he is about what is happening in Steelville. You are on the precipice of doing something exciting in this town. It is exceptional to see a small group creating a vision for a town.”
Kinkade also questioned whether the group had a plan to encourage membership in the group, noting a drop in membership fees brought in for 2012 over 2011. The larger figure in 2011 included corporate memberships, and Scott Perkins noted the council needed to reach a broader base, including corporate entities. Tina Heusler, recently hired as Executive Director for the organization, added that the council has just begun work with a marketing committee and membership will be something that group addresses.
“There are lots of things to look at,” Heusler said. “There is great hope in that; there are good things in the making.”