NCAC looking forward to exciting projects

Published 11:22 pm Saturday, September 15, 2007

Congratulations on the newly elected position go out to Stephanie Punches. I know that the Natchez Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) looks forward to adding a new venue for our dreams, visions and projects. With Stephanie, as a new member on board for the Mississippi Arts Commission, Natchez should be buzzing with lots of work in the future for artists. As President and Foundress of NCAC, I would like to clarify one small misunderstanding. While we would love to support Mrs. Punches, please know that her association with NCAC is a typographical error. I have been receiving some questions as to who NCAC is and when and where it was started, so I will give a summary of how it all began and basically the history of this corporation.

My energy level is always about “what can I do for the greater good.” While an activist in many directions on the Gulf Coast the winds of change came rather abruptly when Katrina brought me overnight to Natchez. I have had a weekend relationship with this city for 13 years and never understood the quality, beauty and love this city has for its people until becoming a full time resident. While admiring and participating in some of the wonderful venues Natchez offers, I felt that I wanted a bit more involvement. Buzz Harper, a friend of everyone, mentioned that I should entertain the idea of doing something with The Margaret Martin Building. The idea of “A Home for the Arts” was sparked, and the outreach to the citizens on Nov. 2, 2006 became a great beginning for a birthing place to house cultural and art events. The first people on board were Jennifer Ogden, Ginny Benoist, and Buzz Harper. The Opera house needed repairs, the classrooms could use some life and then a huge number of contacts came forward with “How can we help.” The Mayor and Council of Natchez were indeed very generous and supportive. The Opera Board was grateful for the additions for the season. The Art classes were enthusiastically attended. The cultural experiences were applauded.

At this present date we are collecting data on how to go about bringing more art opportunities, cultural outreaches, and hands-on volunteers. We have worked non-stop for a year and I personally thank the Board members, Jennifer Ogden, Ginny Benoist, Chris Heard and Buzz Harper for their contributions to this organization. Recently, on Aug. 26 at High Cotton with the generous contribution of edibles from chef Doug Hosford, we held a reception for the Artists of Natchez, where we collected a questionnaire with the what, when, where and how can we help you. The outreach was outstanding, and a new committee will be formed from this group.

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This Christmas season we will be bringing “Christmas from New York” to sing the melodies of beautiful music by the popular and well-received artists David and Erin Shenton with John Tsotsoros. Brochures will be available soon. Art and Soul will be entertaining some of the best out-of-town artists to fill the booths that NCAC has brought in.

The planning stages are working toward a summer program for all ages and the list goes on and on. I thank the people of Natchez for their support and look forward to this dream continuing along the path of artistic opportunities and memorable experiences for all cultures.

Hedy K. Boelte is a Natchez resident.