Artist wants to start council

Published 5:03 pm Monday, January 17, 2011

Elizabeth Byrd wants to make it a little easier to be an artist in Chilton County.

Artists need inspiration, Byrd’s thinking goes, the kind that is rare in the county. So, Byrd wants to found the Chilton County Arts Council.

A meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 30 at Byrd’s home; she said the meeting would establish a group of people willing and able to make the council a reality.

“I’m an artist; I’m not an attorney,” Byrd said.

Among the steps necessary to establish the council would be writing a mission statement, forming articles of incorporation, and obtaining non-profit, tax-exempt status for the organization.

“We’re hoping that those who are interested in supporting the Chilton County Arts Council are willing to work together for about a year to make it happen,” Byrd said. “It’s going to take a while.”

Byrd has established a goal of having the council up and running by January 2012.

The Chilton County council would be modeled after the Shelby County Arts Council based in Columbiana, Byrd said.

She has entered her work in shows sponsored by the Shelby County council and other regional art groups—mainly because there is no such group in Chilton County.

“I’ve lived here all my life, and it has always been difficult for any artist in Chilton County to be encouraged or rewarded.

“Who wants to perform without an audience? There are people here that have a talent, and they’re not inspired to use it. There’s a lot of really good talent here; I’d like to see it stay here in the county instead of walk away. I think the generation coming up deserves this.”

Aside from art shows and galleries, Byrd said she would like the council to help teach art to county students. One idea is for council members to volunteer to teach at already established after-school programs.

The council would not be limited to visual arts, Byrd said, but would encompass culinary arts, music, theatre and ballet among other disciplines.

“When a community takes care of their base needs and then moves toward the next level—expression, creativity and spiritually—you benefit and improve those base needs,” she said. “We’re not meeting that next level in this county. I just feel like there’s a calling for this.”

The meeting will be held at 536 Thrash Road in Clanton. Anyone wanting more information about the meeting or the council should contact Byrd at (205) 294-2400 or