The Watercolor Society of North Carolina, Inc. (WSNC)
is a non-profit art organization; its purpose is to
promote watercolor throughout the state and
to elevate the standards of excellence in this medium.
Keep the Arts Alive
Beginning in 2007, the WSNC and Cheap Joe's have partnered to give Keep Arts Alive awards to the schools in the county where the WSNC holds its annual exhibition. This year's exhibition took place in Blowing Rock, making the Watauga County Schools the beneficiary of this year's awards. The first year we were able to award one Middle School a $2,000 grant to help purchase art supplies. This year, Cheap Joe's and the WSNC each donated $2,000 to the award bringing the total award to $4,000. Many thanks go to the local fundraising committee and Watauga County residents Welborn and Patty Alexander for their contribution of the funds for the Watercolor Society's share of the awards.

Joe Miller, Jill Huffman, Tyler Deal and Janie Johnson
This year our exhibition was in the hometown of Joe Miller making this a very special event. Watauga County has four art teachers that serve 2 schools each in K - 8. The four art teachers receiving the awards are Chad Safferstone, who teaches at Bethel and Hardin Park; Jill Huffman, who teaches at Blowing Rock and Valle Crucis; Rae Filsinger, who teaches at Mabel and Parkway; and Tyler Deal, who teaches at Cove Creek and Green Valley. Each teacher serves two schools and will use the awards to purchase art supplies for their classes during this school year. Each of these art teachers submitted an application stating what this additional funding would mean to them. It was later learned that many of the schools have not had an art budget for several years and this money will greatly impact the quality of the arts education in Watauga County.

This is an exciting opportunity to support arts education in Watauga County, and both WSNC and Cheap Joe's Art Stuff are proud to sponsor this award and we are truly pleased to help develop the creative minds of our future artists.

This is the final year of the Keep the Arts Alive Award by that name. In recognition of the continued contributions of Joe Miller, the awards will be renamed the Cheap Joe's Art in Education Award in future years. We look forward to the continued partnership between the WSNC and Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.