A Project for Students and Citizens

Living Democracy in Linden: Week Eight

In Linden on July 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm
The Linden Art Walk welcomed artists of all ages and backgrounds. (Photo by Nathan Simone)

The Linden Art Walk welcomed artists of all ages and backgrounds. (Photo by Nathan Simone)

Two Rivers Arts Council paints civic life with all colors

By Kaleb Kirkpatrick

            Civic organizations are extremely important to communities, especially rural communities. These organizations can provide a wide variety of goods and services, such as volunteer work, food drives or cleaning up public places including parks. Other civic organizations host events for the public to relax and enjoy their community. All of this is helpful and play a vital role in the civic health of a community.

An excellent example of a civic organization is the Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC). According to Morgan Grimes, TRAC works in Marengo County to “provide quality arts exhibits and performances to the community it serves and to assist and encourage local efforts which enable the community to create and make their own arts.” TRAC was created in the 1970s to bring appreciation of the arts to the people of Marengo County.

TRAC has a fall and spring concert in City Park in historic, downtown Demopolis. The concert is free and usually TRAC gets local musicians to play. Last December, the Montgomery Ballet performed “The Nutcracker “at the Demopolis High School Auditorium. Recently, they partnered with me on the Linden Art Walk and were essential in getting names of local and regional artists.Linden2

The organization is funded by membership dues, grants, corporate sponsorship, the City of Demopolis and donations. TRAC seeks to secure government support for the arts at all levels and, through the support of over 100 members, TRAC continues to thrive and offer quality art exhibits and performances to the community. A Board of Directors consisting of fifteen members governs TRAC.  The board seeks funding from municipal, county, state and federal governments, local, regional and national business establishments, foundations, and private individuals in the community. Each year, the Council encourages members of the community and local businesses to become members of the Council. According to Mrs. Grimes, “The Two Rivers Arts Council aspires to elevate the style and quality of life for the citizens of Demopolis and Marengo County.” In order to become a member of TRAC, a citizen, official, or business owner must  fill out a short membership form and pay dues. Memberships are valid for one year.

TRAC also attempts to promote artists from Alabama throughout the region surrounding Linden, which is one of the main reasons the council wanted to assist with this project. Projects like the Art Walk help to benefit everyone and can bring together different organizations under the same umbrella of a cause. If someone was interested in purchasing a piece of art from an artist but did not know where to start, TRAC can help get both parties in touch.

The Linden Art Walk brought together artists of all types. (Photo by Nathan Simone)

The Linden Art Walk brought together artists of all types. (Photo by Nathan Simone)

TRAC has multiple partners such as the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce, the Demopolis Public Library, The Demopolis City School System, the Marengo County Historical Society, the Marengo County History and Archives Museum, the Canebrake Players and the Demopolis High School Tiger Arts Guild. This type of cohesiveness and harmony between organizations is an excellent example of how common interests can come together to work on something. In addition, this group unity helps to promote everyone. For example, if TRAC had an event then the other partners from the other organizations will attend the event, all in the name of friendship. It’s a perfect picture of how citizens can come together and change their local communities.

Overall, the Two Rivers Arts Council is a thriving and active organization in the heart of the Alabama Black Belt region. Their continued efforts will help to totally transform the area for the citizens living there. In addition, the organization and its partners can stand as a testament of how cooperation is extremely beneficial for small communities. With the help of the council, Alabama artists will continue to produce wonderful pieces of art for both private and public citizens. It will allow everyone to benefit and eventually the council could even help to advance local  artists to the national level, much like the example of the Gees Bend Quilters when they were discovered.

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