General Information & Mission:                                                                          

Nash Arts is a private, nonprofit organization, which celebrates, promotes and produces artists and arts activities, provides support to other area arts organizations and encourages and generates arts education in order to enhance the quality of life in Nash County. 

Our organization showcases local, regional and national artists, professional and emerging, as well as self-taught artists and craftsmen. Our goal is to reach out to all members of our community.

 History & Structure:                                                                                          

The history of our organization and building, the Nash Arts Center, is the foundation of our organization and an inspiring story.

Nash Arts is housed in The Nash Arts Center, a former Baptist Church built in 1914, that was slated to be demolished and made into a parking lot in 1983, much to the dismay of local citizens.

In Nov. of 1984, a group of concerned citizens, led by Hazel Valentine, mother of former congressman Tim Valentine, came to this historical buildings rescue by receiving permission from the county to “dust off the pews and have a few programs.”

In early 1985, an ad hoc committee chaired by Willard Barnes and Ray Matthews prepared & proposed a charter and bylaws for an organization to be formed. In June 1985, Nash Arts Center became official. Willard Barnes was the first President of our organization. Ten days later the first program was held in the building.

During the first fiscal year Nash Arts offered 6 programs, a majority of them through the Oral History Project. Program offerings have increased each year and over 35 programs were offered during the 2001-2002 season. 

With lot of passion, and tireless unpaid effort, this group of citizens, after nearly ten years of fundraising and painstaking work, successfully completed the restoration of the building and made it truly usable for cultural activities.

On November 7, 1997, the board of directors of the Nash County Cultural Center, recognizing that their primary function had shifted to program operations, rather than building restoration, voted to operate as Nash Arts, Inc., housed in the Nash County Cultural Center.

Talk about a community effort! That group, all volunteers, secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in restoration funds, completing the inside and adding wheelchair accessible bathrooms and a ramp. 


Today, we are currently renovating our basement, a full kitchen is completed, and a large meeting room and classrooms for workshops are planned.

Programs include visual arts exhibitions showcasing acrylic paintings, oil paintings, photography, and ceramics. Musical programs including the very popular Guitars & Friends, Jazz Fest, the Nashville Showcase Series, and the Sounds of Gold. We also offer through our North Carolina Artists Series, and annual children’s programs.

Nash Arts will strive to increase the range of programming to include juried and competitive exhibitions, more drama, literature and creative writing, and to implement educational programs, some in cooperation with the local schools, some in cooperation with other agencies. 

 What the Arts do for Our Community:                                                                

Cultural resources are vital to a community’s economic success and quality of life. Nash Arts is proud to serve as an arts resource, helping to make Nash County a great place to live, work and play.

• The arts make our communities livelier places to live and do business.
• They heighten our perceptions.
• The arts help our children cultivate self-discipline and strengthen learning skills.
• They contribute a large share to our state’s more than $12 billion travel industry.
• The arts spark our imagination and teach us about other cultures throughout the world.


As a non-profit agency, with a limited staff, Nash Arts depends on the support of community members.

Volunteering your time and talents is a great way to be involved in the arts. There are many opportunities including hosting events, data entry, envelope stuffing, phone calling and more. If you would like to make a difference, please contact the Nash Arts staff at, 252-459-4734.

The Arts Council Staff and Board of Directors
For assistance, call 252.459.4734. 

 Executive Team & Founders:                                                                          

 Executive Committee:                   

William Wallace, President
Dan Fogarty, Vice President
JD Batts, Secretary
Natalie Webb, Treasurer

 Board of Directors:                        

Allen Bolin
Debbie Sykes
Jan Sullivan-Volz
Jim Lee
Kate Bortner
Linda Woolard
Robert Toney


Shelly F. Gray


G. Willard Barnes, Jr
Ken Batchelor
Michael E. Brown
Benjamin E. Casey
Pamela R. Fenner
Lucille Garrett
Mildred D. Hinton
J. Myrick Howard
Anna D. Matthews
H. Ray Matthews
Richard L. Mattson
Gaye W. Moore
Dulcie Rackley
Elizabeth Shields
Charlotte W. Toler
Hazel A. Valentine
Darnella Williams

© Nash County Arts Council 2019