Lincoln County has always been a hub for agriculture and industry.
Soon, it will become a hub for the aesthetic as well. The county is forming a fine arts council, and Julie Rodgers, executive director of Lincoln County Economic Development, sees it as an economic boost for the area by drawing people from outside of the county.
“Communities that support the arts draw a lot of people, especially millennials,” she said. “It’s a great win for local businesses to keep revenues in the community, because the arts draw people to their businesses.”
The idea for a fine arts council in Lincoln County came from a chance meeting with Lincoln County Journal Advertising Sales Representative Jennifer Schipper at a local coffee shop. From there, a conversation began about the next steps to turning the idea for an arts council into a reality.
“Warren County has had a fine arts council since the 1980s – and Lincoln County doesn’t have one,” said Schipper, who is the president of the Warren County Fine Arts Council. “I ran into Julie at the Roasted Bean before a Troy Business Network meeting, and we started talking about the arts.”
Schipper also said the time couldn’t be better for the formation of the LCAC.
“COVID-19 creates a perfect opportunity to start an arts council due to people finally wanting to get out of the house,” she said.
The new LCAC has begun the process of putting a board of directors together. Rodgers said interest has been high in anticipation of bringing the arts to Lincoln County.
“When we’ve mentioned this, people have gotten excited about this,” she said. “We have a great deal of people interested, so I know this is going to take off.”
When a person thinks of the arts, he or she generally thinks of paintings and sculptures. While they are correct, the arts can be extended to music, spoken word poetry and dance – and the LCAC plans to support all of those things, according to Rodgers.
She also said having the arts could help a community by sponsoring mentoring programs for at-risk youths in the area, as well as making building more attractive to potential investors.
“Using an easy building for an art showcase can show potential businesses the potential of the building to locate a building there,” Rodgers said.
The LCAC will be using the access to grant funding and other resources shared by Schipper and the WCFAC to get off the ground, and Rodgers is appreciative for the assistance.
“Having Jennifer helping us get started with her connections as president of the Warren County Fine Arts Council is a huge boost to for us,” she said.
“We should be competing with other counties,” Schipper said. “Warren County’s fine arts council shouldn’t be competing with Lincoln County.”
Rodgers is excited by the many possibilities having an arts council could bring to Lincoln County.
“People underestimate with art does for economic development,” she said. “People underestimate what economic development does for a community.
“They’re all connected.”
Schipper said the arts have benefited have Warren County, and she expected it to benefit Lincoln County, even paraphrasing a quote from novelist Katherine Anne Porter.
“Once you build that market, people will travel to it,” Schipper said. “Art will outlive the societies that create them.”