The Highland Community Foundation, as part of its 2021 Goals, is moving forward with its longstanding pledge to create a Highland Arts Council to support the Town’s art community.

As part of HCF’s 2017 “Highland Has Art” initiative, the formation of an Arts Council was one of the program’s central features, in addition to providing grants for town art projects. “There have been a couple of attempts since 2017 to create the Arts Council,” said HCF President Lance Ryskamp. “However, for various reasons including last year’s onset of the COVID pandemic, it never fully got off the ground.”

Ryskamp said that the recent appointment of new HCF Board Member, Dawn Diamantopoulos, to spearhead the effort, means the project will begin again in earnest. Diamantopoulos is an artist who had served for years as the longtime President of the Highland Main Street Bureau. “Dawn is the ideal leader to take over where I left off with this project,” Ryskamp said. “I appreciate her willingness to join HCF this year and take this on. I have every confidence that the Highland Arts Council will finally move forward from an idea to a reality.”

In 2017, HCF established the Highland Arts Council as a subcommittee of the Foundation, which could include both Board members and representatives of Highland’s arts community. This organization will remain as a subcommittee of HCF, until such time as it could eventually become its own 501 (C)(3) nonprofit. HCF identified multiple objectives that an Arts Council could achieve in Highland: first, to embrace the diversity and support all of the town’s various art-related organizations, both adult and student, under one organizational umbrella; second, to create a permanent, long-term source of funding to support the arts in Highland; third, to support and expand the arts in Highland, in order to enhance the community’s quality of life and to serve as an economic engine in its own right; and, fourth, to help support and grow the next generation of artists in our community, through mentoring and providing opportunities for them to display their work.