Prince William County is made up of many individual artists and groups.
A local organization is looking to support them and educate the public.
Founded by the Prince William County Park Authority Board in 1992, the Prince William County Arts Council seeks to promote appreciation and the creation of art. It serves Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.
Herb Williams spoke about it in a recent Community Conversations.
The Prince William County Arts Council is accepting new members.
To learn more information about the organization, contact Williams at (703) 792-8782 or email@example.com.
You can view the full interview here:
This is the interview transcription:
ST Billingsley: Thank you for joining us on What’s up Prince William for our community conversation show here in studio 1A in Dale City, Virginia. Today we have Herb Williams, arts specialist for Prince William County. Thank you very much for being on our show today.
Herb Williams: Thank you. I am ecstatic about being here, and what’s up, Prince William? Yes. It’s great to be here, and thank you for having me.
ST Billingsley:Sure. So as we’re coming out of corona a lot of things are now starting to open up and get going. Tell us just a little bit, what is the Arts Council for Prince William County?
Herb Williams: Well, the Arts Council is… What I like to say, it is the piece that sort of brings everything together that is art related in any state, city, county. We are responsible for ensuring that the arts are reaching the unreached, in a sense, and being expanded upon and educating not only our youth and our children in the arts, but also an opportunity to educate artist who are just beginning or who needs to possibly learn something new that’s innovative that’s coming out. And being a part of some the things that we’re talking about, like street art and asphalt art and those kinds of things that we’re going to be bringing into the fold soon. So we are just expanding the minds and bringing people into the idea that art is for all of us. So, that’s our goal, and that’s our purpose as an arts council.
ST Billingsley: And so what is your role with the Arts Council?
Herb Williams: To work with a board that most of them have been appointed by the City of… I said City again… the Board of County Supervisors, who are going to be an intricate part of every district. And they’re going to be able to reach out to the people in their district and bring them into the fold to get them to understand what we are and what we do, and how we can play a part in their everyday lives. And so my position is to ensure that they have the tools to do that, and they have the means in which to create the programming and funding, in a sense, to go out and make people understand or get people to understand that the arts are important, and that they can very well be a part of this bigger picture.
Herb Williams: So I’m always producing programmings, workshops and opportunities to put out there to the public and being parts of festivals and things like that and making sure that everyone understands that this is all of us. And so at the end of the day, my job is to say, “Everyone is included. Everyone is invited, and if you’re creative, and you have a talent, we want you to sit by us, and grow with us, and expand yourself even beyond the county, if that’s what you desire.”
ST Billingsley: Great. Great. Just from what we do, we film quite a few things from the Arts Council or different events going on, and there are a lot of people in the community who have participated with this. With coronavirus hopefully coming to an end, what are some of the challenges that you’re running into, and or what kind of organization are you wanting to get in contact with to get this back going?
Herb Williams: Well, first thing is coming in, for myself, because this is a little over two months in now, the big part for me is to get everyone to understand that the arts are expensive. It is not subjective to what most people consider art: singing, dancing, acting, visual arts. We’re expanding and incorporating the applied arts, in a sense. Graphic design, architecture, fashion, all of these things.And we’re expanding in a way that it allows people…. Excuse me… who would not have normally thought about being a part of the Arts council, to say, “I want to be a member, because they’re doing this, or they’re doing that, and they didn’t do this before.”
Herb Williams: So that expansiveness is going to open the door to so much more and being able to have these people come into the fold. And there’s nothing like having different creatives working together. If your particular discipline is visual arts, and mine is poetry, then you’re painting while I’m doing a piece of poetry. Or you’re designing a dress based off of something that someone said, if you’re a fashion designer.
Herb Williams: So it’s almost like a… I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Medici method where in Italy this rich family, they brought all of these talented people to that one area. And they just said, “We have the money. You come in, and you do what you do and make what you make.” And that whole city just grew to just incredible magnitude just because of the creativity that they had brought in and put together. So it’s a like-mindset. The creativity that was there allowed them to expand and go so many places, and that’s the idea. That’s what I’m trying to do.
ST Billingsley: So I take it you’re accepting new members, you’re looking for members, you’re looking for people. Where can they get in contact with you or the organization? And I know you say you’re looking to expand it, so really just anybody with something in this field of art, you would like them to be part of it.
Herb Williams: Well, absolutely. Even, and I say this, even as a audience member. They’re important to this, because without them, I mean, what are we doing really? So we even extend our membership to those people who just feel like they want to know what’s going on and get the first dibs on what’s coming out and that sort of thing. And we send out information for those purposes, so if it’s that person, then we welcome them.
Herb Williams: But on the bigger scale we definitely need membership to be able to do what we do, because that’s the whole basis for us being an arts council, is to make sure that everyone is involved and everyone knows. And our whole sort of premise, being able to give out grant funding and being able to do workshops and educate and going to the schools and the libraries and these various things, that costs money. We have to pay people to do that, because it’s taking time from them. Even though they love their creativity and their art form. But that takes time and money, and so membership is very, very important to this.
Herb Williams: And our members… It starts at $35, and if you’re a big business, and you want to sponsor something in specific, it can go up to about $5,000. But it’s very, very expansive, and no one is held to anything. It’s a one-time membership. It’s a whole year. $5,000, it gives most businesses ongoing for five years. And they’re sponsoring these great workshops. People are coming in from New York to do workshops, and people are coming in from DC to do workshops. And there are online virtual workshop and things. For artists and just for the normal person. And some of them are… You may have to pay a little bit for them, but for the most part if you’re a member, they’re going to be free.
Herb Williams: And so that’s what we’re offering, and we’re just trying to look to expand our membership in a way that it’s really inclusive and everyone is being able to come in and say, “This is what we need in our community, and this is what I need in my community.” And we’ll be able to sit down and work through those things, and get everyone what they need, and help us all grow.
ST Billingsley: Well, that’s great. We’re looking forward to seeing how this grows over here in the very near future.
Herb Williams: Yes.
ST Billingsley: I know you’ve got a big challenge ahead of you, so.
Herb Williams: I’m excited.
ST Billingsley: And we’ve been a supporter of the Arts Council for many years. We’re looking forward to being able to talk about you and talk about your organization.
Herb Williams: Yes, this is why I was glad when I was looking for you, I found you. And the first phone conversation, I was ecstatic. I was like, “These people are great. I need to see them right now.” So, but, yeah. Thank you so much. I greatly appreciate your time and being able to come and spend time with you here, and just talk about the wonderful things to come. And we’re going to bring you in to the fold too.
ST Billingsley: Great. Well, we’re looking forward to that.
Herb Williams: Absolutely, man.
ST Billingsley: Thank you. And thank you for joining us today on Community Conversations on What’s up Prince William.
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