Not to paint too dark a picture, the Watauga County Arts Council gained an appropriate reprieve during a recent meeting when our county commissioners agreed to extend the organization’s lease for an additional four years. That vote added continued, albeit temporary, stability to an important part of our county that has hosted hundreds of exhibits and other programming.

Yet in correctly citing that many county organizations are in need of adequate facility space, at least one commissioner questioned WCAC’s ability to not find a permanent home despite repeated leasing continuances since 2013.

Given that current WCAC Executive Director Cherry Johnson will retire in August, and that the council board of directors is actively searching for a replacement in hopes of a hire this summer to overlap and learn from Johnson’s expertise … first things first.

The council has rightly cited the priority of positioning a new leader for the organization.

But once this person is in place, and with an already-agreed-upon commitment from the county to assist, WCAC must begin in earnest its search, budgeting and fundraising for a permanent home.

Such a decision is the only answer to ensure that the council’s exhibits, and not its facility, are the only things that rotate on a regular basis.

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