For more than 100 years, April 15 has been tax day in America. As a business owner, I share your bad feelings about the day. So, this year, I am choosing to focus on another celebration that takes place that day. Did you know that April 15 also is World Art Day? I am no artist. I can’t sing, I can’t draw, and those who have heard my Spotify playlist have been quick to tell me that I don’t have very good taste in music. I disagree, but I’ll concede that I’m not an artist.
I did marry a woman with an incredible passion for the arts, though, and she has taught me so much about the critical role that the arts play in building a sense of community. Katie has served as the president of the board of directors for Woodstock Arts for several years, and the impact this organization has made in our city truly is incredible.
Community and economic advancement go hand in hand with an arts presence. As Toby Ziegler from “The West Wing” (one of my favorite shows) taught us, “There is a connection between progress of a society and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici also was the age of Leonardo Da Vinci. The age of Elizabeth was the age of Shakespeare.”
We see this across history. Great things happen in amazing places when the arts are given opportunities to thrive, and Woodstock is no exception.
Woodstock Arts programs an award-winning theater in the center of our city, puts on best-in-class concerts — known as the Lantern Series — under the stars on the Event Green, offers educational opportunities across the arts, and showcases the visual arts in the impressive Reeves House Visual Arts Center. The Reeves House is a recent statewide award winner, and well worth a visit for a coffee, or a glass of wine, while you explore its rotating art exhibits. With hundreds of events every year, the organization is making the arts accessible to every Woodstocker.
Woodstock Arts isn’t the only organization leaning into this arts presence in our city. With the Summer Concert Series, dozens of venues offering live music throughout the city, art galleries, makerspaces and an in-progress public art master plan, our city remains focused on providing room for creativity, imagination and inventiveness.
We stand on the precipice of our own golden age in Woodstock. Our city ranks as the 28th-largest in Georgia, and, with more than 3 million visits last year, our downtown shopping district is one of the most-visited destinations in the southeastern United States. We boast a thriving, growing business community. We’ve built a vibrant, walkable downtown. Our bustling shops and restaurants are among the best in the region. And, yes, our arts scene offers more than ever before. Our community’s storied past still is unfolding, and the arts always have been a critical component of our success.
Woodstock Arts is holding its annual gala on April 22. I’d encourage you to attend, or to break out this weekend and explore the countless expressions of the arts spread throughout our city. I’ll see you there!
— Mayor Michael Caldwell
– Michael Caldwell is the 31st mayor of Woodstock, a retired state legislator, member of the Georgia Technology Authority, partner at Black Airplane, husband to Katie, and father to Oliver, Elizabeth and Charlotte.