The first Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival was held in May 2012 on Cape Fear Blvd. The festival was formed with members of the Town of Carolina Beach Ad Hoc Carolina Beach Arts and Activities Committee (CBAA). The purpose of the festival was to promote North Carolina artists and bring visitors to the island during off-season. The festival was a success and the Town and members of the community wanted to keep the festival as an annual event.
As a Town sponsored event, the festival was not in a position to raise funding to sustain the event, thus the Island Arts and Culture Alliance (IACA) was formed as a non-profit organization. The first few years IACA operated under the 501(c)3 umbrella of the Boardwalk Make-Over Committee.
In 2013 the IACA presented a business plan and grant request to the Town of Carolina for $3000 seed capital to start-up the organization. The original objectives were to:
* Attract visitors from around the region, around the country to Carolina Beach and the Central Business District;
* Increase awareness of Carolina Beach and the island’s artist community and family friendly accommodations
* Increase appreciation for the arts by involving the public in the creative process through demonstrations, hands-on-programs, and access to art in different mediums.
In 2020 we expanded our mission to support our Island Community and art-based organizations.
Our Mission is to promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of the literary, culinary, visual and performing arts in the island community in order to enhance the quality of life in our area.
Help Organizations and Individuals bring arts and culture programs to the island
Provide Infrastructure: Island Arts Council helps new arts-based organizations to start-up by providing the administrative infrastructure needed to raise funds, pay vendors and obtain event insurance.
The Carolina Beach Mural Project started under our 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to enable the founders to raise donations and have a method to pay their artists and vendors. We also provided “seed” funding to start their first project. By working under our nonprofit status, the Mural Project was able to raise money through donations and use our umbrella events insurance policy. The Carolina Beach Mural Project is now a free standing nonprofit organization.
Provide Mentoring: Members of the Island Arts Council work with groups that seek to bring new art-based events to the Island. Our members help guide the group by providing consulting for designing the event, developing a marketing program, meeting town requirements, and getting needed volunteers.l
Art in the Yard began in 2022 with a small group of artists looking for a new venue to reach buyers. It is a “Yard Sale” for community arts and craft artists who reside in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. This grassroots event was sponsored by the Island Arts Council and organized by a group of island residents for the benefit of the island artist community. Artists setup their art work in their yards and studios. Shoppers get a map showing locations of all the participants.
We provided start-up support for this group under our 501(c)3 so they could receive payments, donations and pay their vendors through the organizational structure. Some of our members attended the new group’s planning meetings to provide guidance for the event's logistics and help with necessary documentation such as Application forms with “hold harmless” clauses.
In addition, the Council provided help with marketing, outreach to artists for participation and recruitment of volunteers to help at the event. We also provided “seed grants” to help with initial costs. Art in the Yard is in its 2nd year and has become a major event on our island.
Liaison between Town and Organizations: The Island Arts Council works with our local government to identify, plan and implement art-based events that the Town management/councils want to bring to the community.
As a member of the Carolina Beach Centennial Committee, Island Arts Council is leading an exciting multi-year project for the 2025 Carolina Beach Centennial celebration. We are developing the Town’s ICON statue project to bring Venus Fly Trap statues throughout the town for 2025.
This is a big project requiring collaboration with the Town government, local organizations, businesses and lots of volunteers.
The Council is able to raise funds through state and federal grants, to receive donations, and to manage a multi-year project budget, whereas the Town is unable to do so due to regulations.
Funds raised by this project will go to sponsor more art programs and services to build our island into an arts and cultural destination.