CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Council on the Arts will be holding a meeting outside of Washington, D.C. for the first time in decades when it visits Charleston Friday.
West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith said it’s the first time the council has been on the road for a regular meeting in 27 years.
Reid-Smith credits Gov. Jim Justice’s attention to the arts as a factor in drawing the council.
“They are coming here because of the creation of the new Department of Arts, Culture and History and the 20 percent increase that the governor and the legislators gave to our department for arts, historic preservation and for our education programs,” Reid-Smith recently told state Board of Education members.
The legislature passed a bill in a May special session creating the Department of Arts, Culture and History replacing the Department of Education and the Arts that was eliminated earlier this year.
Justice announced in March his desire to create the new department.
“We don’t want to get into a situation where the outside world is looking at us and saying, ‘We know how West Virginia is, and they don’t place a lot of importance on the arts,'” Justice said.
The national council meeting is set for June 29 at 9 a.m. in the State Museum at the state Culture Center in Charleston.
According to the council’s website, the meeting will include agency business and special presentations and performances.
The council has scheduled two site visits for Thursday at the Huntington Museum of Art and the Keith-Albee Theater.
The National Council on the Arts “advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs.”
Friday’s meeting will be streamed.