A Brief Historyof the Council for the Arts
- The Arts Council was established in 1976, through the efforts of several residents, namely Jean Wenner (1930-2010).
- It is located downtown on New Bridge Street across from the Freedom Fountain and City Hall.
- It is the Designated County Partner of the North Carolina Arts Council for Onslow County.
- The Arts Council is responsible for managing and distributing funding to local arts organizations, art education, and art events in Jacksonville and Onslow County through sub-grants of North Carolina Grassroots Arts Program Funds.
- The Council for the Arts works with local artists, arts organizations, municipalities and businesses to develop partnerships and programs that support and encourage the arts in Onslow County.
Jean Wenner Left a Legacy of Beauty
Jean Wenner, 1930-2010, was Onslow County’s official champion of the arts. In her mission to make art accessible to every Onslow County resident, from the youngest child to the oldest senior, she did much more than simply dabble in it herself. She brought creativity and beauty to them.
Wenner, who originally was active in the Arts Society of Onslow County, helped kick start the area’s first Council for the Arts back in 1976. Serving as the council’s volunteer director, Wenner helped art programs that ranged from writing workshops to art shows become established and grow.
An accomplished artist herself, Wenner took the small group from its humble inception as an all-volunteer effort with a miniscule budget, to its present incarnation with headquarters on New Bridge Street.
Wenner strongly believed the arts should be shared and enjoyed by young children, and that by exposing kids to the arts early, both talent and appreciation would flourish. She was instrumental in helping bring numerous art programs to the schools, ranging from theater to the award-winning Arts in the Schools program.
Wenner was also an award-winner. She brought the State Arts Council Volunteer of the Year award back to Jacksonville, and was named the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 1990. But awards, while nice, were certainly not her motivator. Wenner found motivation in bringing the joy of the art appreciation to others.
A Marine wife, Wenner remained in Onslow County to raise the couple’s large family while he served at various duty stations. She melded seamlessly into the community to become a leading proponent of the area in general. She was one of Onslow County’s most avid cheerleaders. Wenner never faltered, nor did she fail in her objectives. The Arts Council has seen its endeavors thrive because she believed in them. Wenner, who gave so much back to her adopted home, filled Onslow County with many types of art many times over.
And that’s a beautiful legacy.
This article was written by The Daily News editor on the passing of Jean Wenner, former Director of the Council for the Arts. written on December 18, 2010