Celebrating the arts

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Congratulations to Sara Braaten, executive director of the Bower Center for the Arts, on being recognized for her work over the past three years at the Center.
    The James River Council for the Arts & Humanities recently presented her with the Arts Volunteer Award from the organization, noting that as the volunteer director of the non-profit, she was recognized for “almost single handedly transforming a quiet, little-known group into a lively and exciting center for the visual and performing arts.”
    The award marks a larger trend of the growth of the arts community here locally.
    Through Braaten’s efforts—and those of many others in this area—Bedford is becoming known for the arts and other cultural activities being offered here. Most every week,  some art exhibit, concert or other activity promoting the arts is being featured on the entertainment pages of this paper. There are library events, classes and plays; there are children’s activities, clubs and exhibits.
    All of this is good news.
    In an interview last week, Braaten noted that arts activities and antiques bring visitors into communities like ours. The more we can provide, the more the folks passing by our area will realize they need to stop here. Such activities help make Bedford more than just a place to visit, but rather a destination spot.
    Folks in Roanoke and Lynchburg are finding out Bedford has plenty to offer. And that’s good for not just the arts programs, but many other businesses that support the Centertown infrastructure.
    And children are being exposed to some top-notch experiences as well. As they develop their talents, and explore the arts, the entire community will be rewarded.
    Braaten and those helping make this happen deserve a great big “thank you” for improving the quality of life for those of us living here.
    We all might not be artists, but we can certainly enjoy the arts—in all of its forms.