Our Mission & History

Artists in the Mountains

Our Mission

The mission of the Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina (WNC Arts) is to strengthen the arts community in Western North Carolina through advocacy, peer support, shared resources, and collaborative programming.

To accomplish this mission, the WNC Arts works diligently to advocate for the arts in WNC and provide services to member organizations. Programs will nurture arts administration professionals and support the work of local arts organizations. WNC Art’s mission and programs are accomplished through the efforts of a volunteer board consisting of Western North Carolina arts council executive directors.

Our History

The Western Arts Agencies of North Carolina (WNC Arts) began in the 1980s. The group grew out of a workshop for arts agencies in the western part of the state. The group enjoyed the connection and meaningful dialogue so much they decided to keep meeting, eventually establishing the nonprofit in 1988. The organization was originally called the Western Arts Councils Organization (WACO). The primary function of the organization through the years has been one of support and peer connections.  

One of the first projects WNC Arts undertook was the Mountain Arts Program (MAP) residencies.  This program allowed WNC Arts members to apply for $600 scholarships for arts-in-education programs in local schools. The Best in the West traveling exhibit was another early project on WNC Arts. The juried art exhibit showcased artwork from each of the member counties. The exhibit then traveled across the region for a year.  This eventually turned into the Postcards exhibit, which showcased the visual arts in the WNC region.