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One Mission, United

November 5, 2021Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber

Every couple of months I get the privilege of visiting with our new and current members in a program we call Chamber in 60.  If you’ve had the chance to sit in, you’ve heard me talk a little bit about what I’m sharing with you this morning.  And if you haven’t, please consider this your invitation to do so.

One of the points I make in the program, which last no longer than 60 minutes, is the correlation between the Chamber and its operating divisions, or Affiliates, as we call them.

While the member orientation/reorientation program is pretty intense – one theme throughout is how the Chamber is driven by its members, and that we have a trained professional staff with more than 250 years of combined experience that helps us achieve our mission.

And yes, everything your Chamber does – from our core function of advocacy to member services to each of our operating units – our Tourism Bureau, our Cultural Affairs Council, Military Affairs efforts, Young Professionals or our Industrial Foundation – has a common, durable goal: to improve the economy and quality of life in the Abilene region.

Let’s take our Cultural Affairs Council, as an example. We couldn’t be more proud of the men and women who drive that effort. With the help of so many people – our local foundations, businesses and individuals alike – all want to help to not only leverage our City’s commitment to the arts as a means of continually improving our quality of life, but also in making our community more “saleable” to those who consider investing their family or their business here. The arts made a tremendous difference when my family chose Abilene six short years ago.

And while we constantly celebrate the arts in Abilene and enjoy the partnerships with those who also understand the value of a culturally-rich community, we also set aside special efforts to bring all our partners together to do even more of it.

The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council (ACAC) will host the annual Celebrate the Arts in Abilene luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 in the 201 Mesquite Event Center downtown.

The luncheon has sold out in the past, and this year is no exception. That’s noteworthy because it tells us that the arts are alive and well in Abilene, Texas.

With more than 300 people expected to attend. Included in the festivities will be costumed characters and major announcements about further enhancements to the Abilene Cultural District, which encompasses downtown Abilene.

This event also combines the annual HeARTS for the ARTS membership luncheon and the 2021 Abilene Art Awards. The awards honor outstanding volunteers for local arts groups. In addition, our Cultural Affairs Council will present the Outstanding Individual of the Year Award to Justin Crowe (Hendrick Health) for his contributions to the arts.

The Outstanding Organization of the Year Award will go to The Excelsior Foundation, which has provided support for many art organizations and other nonprofits.

HeARTS for the ARTS grant recipients will be recognized. Grants are given for local arts programming for children and special populations. This year, the ACAC is investing $151,650 in HeARTS and Community & Visitor Development Grants that enrich our community.

Costumed characters and table decorations will reflect the 2022 Children’s Art & Literacy Festival honoree Sophie Blackall, who won the 2016 Caldecott Medal for “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.” Her original art will be on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature next summer.

All this to say that the arts matter, even if we at times take their impact for granted. And obviously, the arts are indeed alive and well in Abilene, Texas.

Onward!

Doug

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