CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County Wednesday celebrated its 50th anniversary of supporting the arts in Harrison County on the stage of the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center.

Throughout the evening the celebration featured music by the West Virginia University Bluegrass Band, the art of Joel Thomas Dugan, hors d’oeuvres by Lost Creek Farm, and many other artists were on hand. As part of the celebration, the foundation shared its upcoming initiatives from its community conversations throughout the county. A $50,000 fundraising goal has been set for 2023 to help the arts in the county.

“The strategic plan will roll out a bunch of new initiatives for the upcoming year that we are excited to share with the community, opportunities for continued funding for arts organizations in our community, creating a communications hub to better communicate the arts opportunities that are available in Harrison County,’ said Andy Walker, President of the Cultural Foundation of Harrison County. “So, a part of our strategic plan is to make possible more community art projects, and being able to cast that vision here tonight is really important for us. Having an arts-rich rich community is just so important to the quality of life of the members of your community, the opportunities that it opens up, and the ability for the arts to inspire the next generation to achieve and dream and do new things.”

Members added the mission of the foundation is to foster the arts, encourage the development and appreciation of all art forms, and promote the expansion of artistic, cultural, and economic development.

“So, we went around and met with citizens across Harrison County with five community conversations in those conversations we saw a lot of commonalities. We also saw a lot of individual community pride, and issues, and challenges, and opportunities. The cultural foundation is an all-volunteer 15-member board its capacity to do some of this work is limited, but it was so good to hear from all of those people across Harrison County, and their input is what informs some of our priorities for the coming year” said Kent Spellman, a board member of the Cultural Foundation of Harrison County. “We want to build on those conversations, and the way we want to do that is to create help create within each of those communities a core of people who would be focused on the development of art and culture in their community each of those five communities we do not want to be limited to those five communities other community to pick up and run with the idea of using art culture to drive their community improvement and community-based economic development. We want to help and do that as well. So, goal one is to form five teams at least one team in each of those communities and that team will identify at least one project related to the art and culture to pursue in 2023. We are also going to change the way that cultural foundation makes grants, we’re going to allow for example a process for donor-advised giving, which we have never had before.”

The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County representatives also stated that for the first time they are going to dedicate some of their funds to creating scholarships to help students in taking the next step in their education around art and culture.