“The collaboration between the regional arts councils paired with the engine of Capitol Broadcasting and WRAL is so powerful. The sponsors that get on board with this project get to serve the entire region, contribute to a $1B economic driver in the non-profit arts sector, and make the Triangle a more exciting place to live and work. How cool is that?!?!?”
Jennifer McEwenUnited Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County President & CEO
The leaders of the four local arts councils paid a visit to Capitol Broadcasting for a special presentation on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. The group presented CBC and WRAL with a painting by NC artist Onicas Gaddis as a thank you for producing the Big Night In for the Arts program this past March. The fundraiser brought in almost $170,000 to support the United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County, Orange County Arts Commission, Chatham Arts Council and Durham Arts Council.
“WRAL continues to be such a great supporter of the arts throughout the Triangle,” said Orange County Arts Commission Director Katie Murray. “The partnership with Big Night In has allowed us to raise much-needed funds that have supported grants to our local organizations and schools. It has also allowed our artists and arts organizations to gain Triangle-wide exposure by being a part of this regional event.”
Murray came to the station with United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County President & CEO Jennifer McEwen and Development Coordinator Laura Montgomery, Chatham Arts Council Executive Director Cheryl Chamblee, and Durham Arts Council Executive Director Sherry L. DeVries. They met with WRAL-TV Station Manager Heather Gray, Local Production Manager Don Ursich and Anchor/Reporter Debra Morgan.
“We are so proud to be a partner on Big Night In for the Arts,” said Gray. “This was an event born out of dark pandemic time that has blossomed and grown over the last few years. We love the broad impact Big Night In has…across four counties. The money raised is impactful, but the awareness and amplification of our vibrant arts community is even more rewarding.”
McEwen took part in last year’s thank you presentation, but the 2023 Big Night In was her first. She joined United Arts as the organization’s leader last August.
“What a blessing to get to come into a new gig and jump into such a collaborative and impactful project,” she said. “Regional partnership like this one, particularly in the messaging and fundraising space, don’t happen frequently.”
Big Night In is a unique opportunity for all four councils, as well as for WRAL and CBC.
“The collaboration between the regional arts councils paired with the engine of Capitol Broadcasting and WRAL is so powerful,” said McEwen. “The sponsors that get on board with this project get to serve the entire region, contribute to a $1B economic driver in the non-profit arts sector, and make the Triangle a more exciting place to live and work. How cool is that?!?!?”
All four councils are grateful for the continuing partnership for Big Night In.
“We are so appreciative of the care and passion demonstrated by the WRAL family,” said Murray, “and we are thankful to be a part of this project.”
McEwen enjoyed being part of the exciting process of creating the 2023 program.
“I loved this experience,” said McEwen. “WRAL’s Don Ursich and Steve Elizondo are so talented and such a delight to brainstorm and execute with. I’ve spent a good chunk of my career in the producing space between theatre and public relations and I can honestly say that the team at WRAL is the B.E.S.T.”
WRAL-TV is already looking forward to year four for the program.
“The WRAL Local Production team is committed to the project and continues to raise the bar each year!” said Gray. “A date is pending, but BNI will be back in 2024!”
ABOUT THE ART:
NC artist Onicas Gaddis shared with Capcom about the piece he created for CBC and WRAL.
Title: Look At How Far You’ve Come.
Inspiration: My first mentor in painting was Sarah Carlisle Towery, I met her when she was 90 years of age. Ms. Sarah was an alumnus of Black Mountain College. She taught me how to not think about a finished painting and to allow the painting to tell me what it wants to be.
This particular canvas that this painting is on was given to me by a guy in Pittsboro, NC. He brought it to my studio and I wasn’t there at the time, so he just left it by the door.
I don’t think he liked the painting that was on the canvas and thought maybe I could use it to paint over and create something beautiful.
The journey that the actual canvas has taken from being placed at the door to my studio, then spending a few days on my easel, to now being admired by the awesome staff at WRAL, is amazing…
I guess in so many ways the story of the painting, is actually the story of the canvas itself.
Thank you so much for accepting my work into your art collection. I am truly grateful.