Hilton Head Island hopes to expand arts community

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Hilton Head Island is putting the spotlight on the arts, focusing efforts on promoting and expanding the arts community. They're asking the public for input at several community forums starting next week.

Town leaders say this is one of their top priorities of the year. They want Hilton Head to be known for more than just its beaches.

From the bright lights of center stage to the pictures lining gallery walls, Hilton Head Island is ready to make a name for itself in the art world. The town is putting a greater focus on promoting entertainment, arts, culture, and heritage, or EACH.

This starts with the newly created Arts Network director position and proposed Culture and Arts Advisory Committee. There's also a venue study underway, which looks at the audience and needs to create more art facilities in the community. The goal is to grow this section of the island's economy.

Hilton Head Town Manager Steve Riley said, "To have a vibrant arts culture and arts community is, council believes, a key part of expanding our outreach. Expanding the brand. So yes, we're always going to be about the beach. We're always going to be about golf. But trying to share that message that we're a whole lot more than that too."

It's a message members of the arts community are excited to share and proud that town leaders are putting the spotlight on them.

"They've learned that Hilton Head has a lot more to offer than just the beach," said Andrea Gannon of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. "It's a unique thing about Hilton Head that we have this amount of culture here. It sort of sets us apart from some of the other resort destinations."

"Well, I think that you can't focus on the arts too much. There are so many talented people here on the island. Not just artists, but you know, musicians and everybody. So we just need to have a place for all of them," said Nancy Voegele, Pink House Gallery owner.

The town's venue committee is holding five community forums, asking for the public's input and ideas.

The community forum schedule is as follows:

March 1:
  • Hilton Head Plantation, Plantation House - 235 Seabrook Drive - 10:30 a.m.
  • Town Hall - Benjamin M. Racusin Council Chambers - One Town Center Court - 4 p.m.
  • Hilton Head Public Service District Community Room - 21 Oak Park Drive - 6:30 p.m.

March 2:

  • Sea Pines, CSA Community Center - 71 Lighthouse Road - 10:30 a.m.
  • Central Oak Grove Baptist Church - 161 Mathews Drive - 5 p.m.

Please contact Jayme Lopko, the senior planner, at jaymel@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or 843.341.4695 for more details.

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