Hoover is a well-rounded city, but some might say the arts have been in the background. The Hoover Arts Council, established by the Hoover City Council in 2017, has made it their mission to bring the arts to the forefront. But who comprises the Arts Council, and what exactly are they doing? We caught up with some members for an update and a get-to-know-the-council chat about what Hoover can expect from them in 2019, and beyond.
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Current Council Members
The mayor and City Council selected the six members of the Arts Council, and they serve in staggered terms of two, four and six years. Councilman Curt Posey is the City Council representative to the Arts Council, and Matina Johnson is the fine arts director of the Hoover Public Library and a consultant to the Arts Council.
- Tricia Simpson: Operations Manager for the Birmingham Boys Choir and board member of the Hoover High School Choir Boosters.
- Linda Chastain: Retired realtor and co-founder of the Hoover Arts Alliance.
- Sandra Fuller: Fine artist and teacher of adults and children.
- Paulette Pearson: Retired college admissions counselor for Hoover City Schools.
- Julie Preskitt: Member and president of the Bluff Park Art Association.
- Pamela Sayle: When it comes to ballet, there is no one more qualified to bring a wealth of experience in the performing arts to the council. Pam also serves on the board of directors of the Alabama Dance Council.
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What will the Arts Council do for the city, and why was the formation of this council so important to the future of arts in Hoover?
Linda: The Hoover Arts Council is very important to confirm the support of the city for all art forms. Funding for art projects at the county, state and national level require evidence of the city’s commitment. The Council can reach a wide audience and, working with the existing art organizations, provide the type of art experience for the city that its citizens desire. We have information about art experiences and opportunities available on the city’s website. We owe it to our people to provide more of the quality art and performance experiences we currently have only at the Hoover Library.
Sandra: If we don’t foster the arts, we lose the opportunity to inspire the next generation of designers, artists, musicians, theater makers and those in technology and creative industries. I also feel that outside businesses and industry are aware of the advantages that cultural opportunities offer to their location. Not to mention the attraction to prospective employees.
When we say “art,” some people only think about painting, sculpting, drawing, etc. What types of art will the council bring attention to?
Sandra: All types of art. Art is not singular. The culture of art spills over to all aspects of everyday living. For example: Visual arts involve not only producing decorative pieces to enjoy and use in homes or public spaces or entertainment, but it includes modern-day design, innovation and technology (think advertising, web design, architecture, computer assistance, photography, videography).
Tricia: All types of art should get attention, particularly our student artists. Whether it be a school program or a community group that teaches and trains young performers, I’d like to see the students and the teachers of the arts get attention for all they do to add to our community.
How will the agreement with Children’s Theater benefit the city, the Galleria and Children’s Theater?
Curt: The Birmingham Children’s Theatre agreement is our first attempt at putting performance art into the Galleria, which is one of the venues under consideration to house a performing arts center. The city chose to partner with BCT because they are a well-established and well-respected performing arts group within the Birmingham/Hoover metropolitan area. We wanted to bring a major headline show to our mall to see what kind of audience we could attract and to see if patrons of the arts would come to Galleria to see the show. The first show is Father’s Day weekend.
Linda: This partnering with the Birmingham Children’s Theater brings to the city one of the types of entertainment that citizens stated they wanted at the meetings last year asking for input from the community on their desires for a “city center” location for entertainment.
What other projects is the group working on?
Paulette: The Arts Council has partnered with two senior students from Hoover High School, Pippa Lother and Shehzan Meredia, to support their campaign, the Clean Hoover Initiative. We are designing and distributing metal signs throughout the city to remind people to not litter and to keep Hoover clean. We are also currently interested in the development of an art center/artist incubator in Bluff Park. I would like us also to include art inclusivity – creative collaborations between physically and learning disabled and non-disabled artists. We have also discussed creating an entertainment district at Patton Creek. There is room available to have a theater in one of the spaces that could possibly be used by the community for various art groups – dance, music, theater and visual arts.
Sandra: We are also working towards a “Hoover Loves Art” Day where many groups of artists will participate.
How will the Hoover Arts Council be beneficial to local artists?
Paulette: We are advocates for all local artists. We have recently met with Hoover City Schools Performing Arts Faculty to assure them we are their advocate and to ask how we can assist them.
Curt: Partnerships with artists are key to what we are trying to accomplish. One of the projects the council is working on is gallery space within malls and businesses to provide artists with a platform to display and sell their work. As these spaces present themselves, so will the partnerships with local artists.