Turner Center for the Arts to Focus on the Art of Business

Barbara Kieker

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Cheryl Oliver, executive director of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is working with the local Chamber of Commerce in development of an "Art of Business" event, which just received approval from the center's board of directors. The event will provide an opportunity for businesses to present their services, and network with others in the business community in an arts-based venue.  Still in the very early stages of development, this event is just one of the ways the center and the Valdosta business community work together for mutual success. 

"Support for the arts is one proven way to strengthen an area's economic development.  A healthy arts industry brings vitality and vibrancy to a community and attracts tourists as well as dynamic new businesses and industry," Oliver said.

"The arts community is one of the first things business owners and developers look at when examining a potential location for an enterprise."

The Turner Center for the Arts is an established nonprofit organization with a mission to promote and celebrate the arts by serving as a regional center for cultural enrichment, education and entertainment.  Located in downtown Valdosta in the former First State Bank building, the center has six galleries that offer a diverse selection of works by regional and national artists in approximately thirty exhibits annually. Two of the galleries house permanent collections. The center celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2013 with a campaign to eliminate $90,000 in outstanding debt, a goal it achieved by year-end.

A new strategy for the arts in 2014

Facing the future with no debt enables the center to undertake new initiatives and strategies for the future. 

"A major initiative will be the development of a five-year strategic plan to help us focus our efforts on specific objectives going forward.  One of our board members with expertise in strategic planning is leading this effort," Oliver said.

"We want to lead the charge in developing a community-wide arts calendar and ensuring long-time vibrancy through promotion and growth of the arts.

Other objectives that Oliver hopes to work towards include more educational offerings for children and adults in areas such as art history and appreciation, and the literary, visual and performing arts, and more outreach efforts to expose underserved segments of the population to the arts.  She also hopes to continue to bring quality programming to the area and help develop a regional network of support with similar organizations throughout the region.

Partnering with businesses

The frequent free and open-to-the-public events at the Turner Center for the Arts provide opportunities for businesses to network and gain valuable exposure to existing and new customers. Sponsorship opportunities can position a business as a strong, active supporter of the arts, the community and an enhanced quality of life, according to Oliver. 

"Our 27th Annual Spring Into Art event is rapidly approaching on April 7th.  It's our biggest annual art show and sale and attracts thousands of spectators, making it one of the area's best advertising vehicles at a very affordable price," Oliver said.

"On May 31st, we're staging American Soundtrack, Vol. II, a musical extravaganza at the Rainwater Conference Center.  It features local song and dance celebrities and is one of the area's most popular events."

Run by a volunteer board of directors and a small full-time staff, the center relies on volunteer involvement to be successful.  Business professionals can work with the center as a volunteer in a variety of capacities.

"The Turner Center for the Arts is everyone's art center," Oliver said.  "We welcome the ideas, energy and vitality that dedicated volunteers bring to our organization."



About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.