Waters and Fletcher Foundation Receive United Arts Awards

Waters and Fletcher Foundation Receive United Arts Awards

Recently retired CBC Executive Ben Waters and wife Martha were honored at a United Arts luncheon on Friday, January 12. The Waters received the Campaign Ambassadors of the Year Award. Also, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation was recognized in the Foundation category of the 2001 Business Support of the Arts Awards.


Ben & Martha Waters were recognized for their hard work for the United Arts Council.

Time Warner Vice President of Government & Public Affairs Brad Phillips presented the award to the Waters. Phillips took over the roll of United Arts Campaign & Development Chair from Ben Waters in January. During the 2000 campaign Ben Waters signed on 17 new companies and met the $1.6 million fundraising goal.

Both Ben and Martha have given to many good causes in the Triangle area and have served on many boards. Phillips said, “…United Arts has benefited greatly from both [Martha] and Ben’s expertise, energy and good will. We are fortunate to have them on our team!”

Wake County Commission Chairman Michael Weeks presented the 2001 Business Support of the Arts Foundation award; Fletcher


The Powell Select Band played a jazz tune for the crowd.

Tom McGuire accepted the A.J. Fletcher Foundation’s award.

Foundation Executive Director Tom McGuire accepted.

The Fletcher Foundation made a grant of $2 million to help build the Fletcher Opera Theater as part of the renovation and addition to the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in downtown. Now dubbed the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, the three building complex began construction last year and plans to open in February.

Dr. Assad Meymandi, K.D. Kennedy, the Lichtin Family Foundation and BTI were also honored for their contributions to the performing arts facility.

Capitol Broadcasting and WRAL-TV are major supports of the United Arts Council and sponsored tables at the luncheon. WRAL-TV Anchor Pam Saulsby emceed the event.

Dancer, choreographer, actress and director Debbie Allen served as keynote. Introduced by her brother and local First Union executive Hugh Allen, Allen gave a rousing and inspiring talk about the need for support of the arts and arts education. Allen applauded the United Arts and its supporters for their “sense of real


Accepting his award, Dr. Assad Meymandi quoted Thomas Jefferson saying, “Children should learn the arts.”

WRAL-TV Pam Saulsby emceed the luncheon.

commitment, support and understanding in keeping the arts alive.”

Allen told the story of how her upbringing was strongly influenced by the arts. She said, “I could easily be a statistic rather than standing before you right now with all the laurels that I have.” Because her local Chamber of Arts offered free open-air concerts, Allen gained exposure to music and eventually got a Ford scholarship to take ballet lessons when the school of ballet desegregated when she was in her early teens. She continued, “All the barriers I grew up with were marginalized because of the arts.”


Keynote speaker Debbie Allen applauded the attendees’ support of the arts.

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County seeks to build better communities through support and advocacy of the arts. The Council provides grants for arts organizations, artists and community arts programs and manages an Artists-in-the-Schools program in over 135 Wake and Johnston County schools.

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