History + Mission

Mission of the Haywood County Arts Council

The mission of the Haywood County Arts Council is to promote artists, art education, and innovation in art. The vision of the HCAC is a community involved in the arts.

History of the Haywood County Arts Council

Since its establishment in 1977, the Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) has supported the growth of the arts throughout the region, providing support for local creative artists and expanding opportunities for audiences, including pre-K through community college students. The Arts Council offers educational programs, performances, and events that serve Haywood County’s population and provide revenue for the Arts Council’s operating expenses.

Beginning with volunteers in the 1970s, HCAC hired its first part-time director in 1982. The first full-time director came on board in the mid-1980s. The HCAC Board of Directors has included business people, educators, representatives from non-profit agencies, retirees, political figures, and so on, striving to represent various communities in Haywood County.

HCAC has been the impetus for numerous spin-off organizations, notably the Haywood Regional Arts Theatre (HART) in 1984. Until the formation of HART, HCAC produced plays at various venues. Other spin-offs have included the Smoky Mountain British Brass Band, Voices in the Laurel, and Haywood Crafts Associates. HCAC was a partner in the formation of the Downtown Waynesville Association in the 1980s.

Past events and programs of the Arts Council have included the Atlanta Ballet Mountain Homecoming (1991-2004), ArtFest/International Festival Day (1985-2015), Razzle Dazzle Saturday Children’s Arts Festival, and more. Now, the Haywood County Arts Council hosts annual events which include the Young Artist Concert, Dance Haywood, the Friends of the Library concert Series, Junior Appalachian Musicians, and more. Current events and programs can be explored by clicking the Programs tab at the top of the page.

June 5, 2020
Dear Friends,
The staff and board of the Haywood County Arts Council are deeply saddened by the events that have occurred around the country this past week. Our mission is to promote artists, art education, and innovation in art, and we commit to ensuring our work is grounded in equity and fairness. We strive to listen to, learn from, and partner with communities of color and marginalized voices. It is important to eradicate the systemic racism that is woven into our culture and create a new paradigm predicated on equality and inclusion.
At the November 21, 2019 Board of Directors meeting, the board unanimously passed Haywood County Arts Council’s Statement on Cultural Equity which is available by visiting “About” and then click on “History & Mission”.  
Leigh M. Forrester
Executive Director

Statement on Cultural Equity – 10-16.2019

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