BUCKHANNON – On the night Buckhannon City Council approved hiring one of its recent graduates, West Virginia Wesleyan College officials pledged the college’s support, resources and a reinvigorated partnership with the City of Buckhannon.
Dr. James Moore, interim president of WVWC, attended Thursday’s Buckhannon City Council meeting to offer a helping hand to the new Colonial Arts Center as its operations get off the ground. The timing was apropos; the May 5 meeting saw council approve hiring WVWC alum Anne Wilson, an arts management major, as the new manager of the East Main Street Colonial Arts Center.
“What I’m about to tell you regarding the arts center is a step that’s long overdue for the institution, which is to lean further into being partners with the city,” Moore said.
Moore said college officials wanted to express their staunch support for the arts center.
“I’ve had the good fortune to travel all over the world as a professional jazz musician … and I’ve had the opportunity to see the impact arts can have on communities, large and small,” he observed. “I have to say that finding something like this space that’s evolving in the City of Buckhannon – finding that anywhere in the world – would be awesome. Having that here in this city for me as a West Virginia native and specifically as a native of this part of the state is really very special.”
Moore said he considers the relationship between the city and college “vital.”
“This town keeps getting better and better and hipper and hipper, and all that does is strengthen the college,” he said. “I’m proud of the spirit of ingenuity and love of place that I see in all the projects that various stakeholders in the City of Buckhannon undertake and it is because of that, that I am excited to announce the college’s intention to provide real support to the Colonial Arts Center.”
WVWC is committed to placing performing arts students in residency and internship roles at the center in addition to its staff and faculty’s expertise, technical support and professional services, Moore added.
“We’re mindful that the arts center doesn’t have a large enough space, for example, to build larger set items that might be needed for BCT or any other performances that happen on the theatre stage,” Moore said. “So we are committed to allowing our scene shop at the [Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts] and our equipment to be used to support whatever technical needs the arts center deems appropriate.”
“Our resources – human and technical – are at the formal and official disposal of the City of Buckhannon and Colonial Arts Center,” he added.
College administrators are drafting a three-way memorandum of understanding between the college, the city and ART26201 which will nail down the details of the partnership, Moore said.
“I applaud you all for taking that leap and taking a chance on this and I think it’s going to pay big dividends, so thank you all for working so hard to make this city a great place,” he said. “I’m looking forward to finding other ways in which the city and Wesleyan can partner.”