Word - Watauga County Arts Council

Watauga Arts Council
Weekly column for The Watauga Democrat
October 23, 2009 edition
Submitted by: Cherry Johnson, Executive Director
Ph: 828.264.1789 Fax: 828.262.4599
e-mail: wcac@watauga-arts.org
I’ve heard it said that the best persons to know around an office, business, or organization are
the secretary and the janitor because they’re the ones who really know what’s going on and
how to get things done. While the Arts Council and the Jones House don’t really have a janitor
(we use a great cleaning service instead) I can certainly tell you that one of the most traumatic
transitions an office faces is the one which involves a change in the administrative staff. Having
just lived through such a transition, I am delighted to introduce you to our new Office Manager,
Teena Cone. Teena’s been on board for almost a month, now, and we’re very much enjoying
getting to know her and helping her get acquainted with the Watauga County Arts Council and
the Jones House Community Center.
It was in early August that I learned, to my dismay, that our Office Manager of five years, Jenny
Schrum, was reluctantly giving notice that she needed to leave us in order to assist her husband
in running a storage company they own. Working with Jenny over the years has been a very
positive experience not only for the staff, but also for the Arts Council and the Jones House. She
took what was originally simply an administrative office support position and became a real
team member, helping us expand our visual arts programming, assisting with fundraising, and
helping manage many other aspects of the organization. She even took her turn writing this
same column and I’ll bet you enjoyed reading her perspective. However, all good things must
eventually come to an end. Thank you, Jenny, for all you’ve done!
As I reluctantly began the search for a new Office Manager I began to realize the magnitude of
the unemployment situation in our community. While the numbers of applicants who inquired
about and then applied for a part-time position were a bit overwhelming to deal with, it was
obvious that we would be able to have our pick among an amazing pool of applicants.
Fortunately I enlisted the help of our Personnel Committee members (who are members of the
Jones House and Arts Council’s boards) and I was so thankful that I had done so since it was one
of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in awhile.
You see, our Office Manager is far more than just the friendly face who greets the public at our
front desk and answers the telephone during gallery hours. There are a lot of things which
occur on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even an annual basis. Things like helping me oversee the
Jones House building and grounds, facility rentals, and even the parking lot. I think she’ll find
that one of the more fun aspects of managing the Jones House is helping with special events and
holidays. (Of course, maybe she’d better wait until she’s experienced the holiday decorating
marathon before she passes judgment on that.)
She helps to supervise our student workers and volunteers; and she’ll definitely need their help
to keep up with both the Jones House and the Arts Council. Working only part-time, she’ll be
not only performing the usual office duties but coordinating our publicity efforts, handling ticket
sales and purchases, monitoring the artwork which is displayed and sold in the Jones House,
through our Arts Placement Service locations, and at Artwalk. She’ll be working in cooperation
with the WCAC Gallery Committee to schedule, install, and publicize monthly gallery exhibitions
and receptions. She’ll help manage our annual fund drive and help us keep up with our
membership donations. So with all of that to keep up with and juggle, it was very important to
find just the right person and we think we just might have found her. That’s why we’re excited
to bring Teena Cone on board.
Teena moved here from Orlando, Florida six years ago. She and her husband, Ken, have two
grown daughters and two grandchildren. While living in Florida she and her family were very
active in their community volunteering and supporting their church ministries. Teena has always
had a great appreciation of the arts and supported the vibrant arts community in the Orlando
When her husband retired, they had already started construction on a home here in the Boone
area. They decided to move to this beautiful mountain community after vacationing here for
many years. Teena enjoys exploring the trails and taking part in the culture and arts here in
Boone. Her background is in business, office management, floral design, and she is a licensed
real estate broker. Teena says she is excited about her position here at the arts council and looks
forward to working with the talented artists and meeting all the visitors to the Jones House.
I hope you’ll make a point of getting to know Teena and welcoming her to the Arts Council and
the Jones House. Obviously she’ll be very busy taking care of so many responsibilities, but I’m
sure she’ll be able to find time to get acquainted. She’ll be here during gallery hours of noonfive Tuesdays through Fridays and also at many special events and activities. And, of course, she
will begin next month writing a regular column for the Watauga Democrat just like the rest of
our staff.
Welcome, Teena. We’re glad to have you on our team!
Cherry Johnson is the Executive Director of the Watauga County Arts Council.
To learn more about the Arts Council, check their website at www.wataugaarts.org, call 264-1789, or visit the Jones House Community Center at 604 West
King Street in Boone.