This year, the Carroll County Arts Council celebrates its 50th anniversary. The approach of this milestone led the board and staff to ask the question, “How can we better serve Carroll County in our next 50 years?”

The answer is encapsulated in a brand-new strategic plan, which outlines three priorities for the next step in our evolution. The first priority is to ensure all of our current and future programs are relevant and sustainable. In an organization that is known for the long-term success of events like the Festival of Wreaths and PEEPshow, we want to be sure that we continue to create programs that have such longevity, and also bring the community together in exciting and meaningful ways. We look forward to exercising our creativity and innovating.


Our second strategic priority is to increase community engagement and ensure greater diversity in our audience. We started working on this priority last year by rethinking our performance offerings. If you’ve looked at our season pass programs, you’ll see that we have mixed in some new performers with our old favorites. You can find dance, drama, poetry and lectures, along with our standbys of bluegrass, jazz and classics. Our next steps will include more events and programs out in the community.

Finally, our third priority is to be sure that we are always mission-driven and growth-oriented. We never want to forget that our purpose is to enrich our community, both culturally and economically, by presenting, promoting and supporting a wide variety of arts opportunities for our residents, visitors and artists. While we never want to get so big that we are impersonal or unfriendly, we do understand that organizations must continue to grow in the services they provide the community to fulfill their mission.

It is with these strategic priorities in mind that we are undertaking a renovation of our theatre. Originally opened as the Carroll Arts Center in 2003, it is time now to upgrade it to the next level. We have a matching grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority that will allow us to make some necessary upgrades so that we can attract the world-class acts that we believe will help us attain our strategic priorities.

Our renovation plans include putting new flooring on the stage to make it more conducive to dance acts and increase the ease of movements for sets and other props. Our current curtains have shrunk due to moisture in the building, so we will replace them with stage curtains that actually hide the actors’ feet when closed. We are improving our house lighting, making it both more welcoming and more responsive. Watch for new paint on the walls and pilasters, new carpeting, a newly painted floor under the seating area, and steam-cleaned theatre seats and acoustical wall panels.

We are grateful to have been an integral part of this community for half a century, and we take our commitment to Carroll County very seriously. We look forward to entertaining you for another 50 years!

Judy Morley is the executive director of the Carroll County Arts Council.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”