The vision of The ArtsCenter is to create an educational environment that provides opportunities, inspirations, and tools to people of all ages and skill levels to participate in the arts.
The ArtsCenter, originally known as ‘ArtsSchool’ was founded in 1974 by artist Jacques Menache. Menache found inspiration for the ArtsSchool from his time living in Mexico City, where he found many multidisciplinary cultural institutes. During this time, Carrboro did not have as much of a strong artistic presence as it does today. Carrboro was seen as more of an industrial town. “There was a need in the community for cultural arts,” said Menache. Menache recognized the need for a space which could meet the needs of the artists in the community and shape the cultural climate of the town.
Menache rented a space on the second floor of present-day Armadillo Grill on Main Street in Carrboro and organized classes for students. After opening the ArtsSchool, Menache advertised drawing and painting classes in the local paper. Soon after, Menache realized that the space he rented could be used for more than just drawing and painting classes. “The room was beautiful and had wooden floors,” says Menache, “so I had the floors refinished and started teaching dance classes, doing a little performing, and then pretty soon, people wanted to do theater in the space.” In time, Menache imagined that the walls in the space were “great for a little gallery,” and he began to host art openings. Later, Menache began projecting films in the back office.
“In the first three years, ‘74-’77, we were showing movies and having little dance performances, teaching classes in several disciplines, having concerts, and it snowballed. I ended up renting the whole upstairs and started teaching more classes. I put in a little art supply store for the students who came for drawing, and built a darkroom and started teaching photography” says Menache. By 1979, the ArtsSchool had over 300 students.
In 1979, As the ArtsSchool continued to expand, Menache raised the necessary funds to relocate across the street to Carr Mill Mall. As the ArtsSchool relocated, Menache changed the name to The ArtsCenter, to reflect the growth in space and diversity of programs. As well as a strong visual arts program, the organization included space for various performance arts, concerts, films, and poetry readings.
Eventually, the owner of Carr Mill Mall passed away. When a new owner bought Carr Mill, Menache decided to relocate once again. Menache saw that the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket across the street was about to close down and inquired about renting the space. After raising the funds, he was able to secure a space in the old supermarket. This 20,000 square foot location was renovated and remains the location of The ArtsCenter today.
Some claim that The ArtsCenter contributed greatly to the artistic atmosphere in present-day Carrboro. Others claim that The ArtsCenter came at a time when there was already a catalyst for artistic growth. Some examples of this idea include the fact that big businesses and retailers were discouraged from opening in Carrboro, which contributed to a small-business and homegrown atmosphere.
The ArtsCenter believes that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission of educating and inspiring artistic creativity to enrich the lives of all people. We are committed to creating an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion through our focused, long-term efforts to ensure equity guides our policies, practices, and procedures. This commitment extends to our programming, allocation of funds, marketing, recruitment, and partnerships. We feel that in making this commitment, all artists will thrive, and our community will flourish.
The ArtsCenter acknowledges and celebrates the unique backgrounds that each person brings to our community. We affirm that diversity, equity, and inclusion is like art in that it is constantly evolving and is created from a place of authenticity and passion. The ArtsCenter will continue to listen and engage with our staff, artists, patrons, students, and neighbors to ensure that we make progress along the diversity, equity, and inclusion continuum.
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Rachel Pottern Nunn
Associate Director, ArtSchool
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Johanna Hawfield Foster is a native North Carolinian who remained in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area after graduating from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1997. She currently serves as Senior Director of Academic Affairs at the UNC School of Medicine, and has done so since 2013 where she oversees curricular operations and special projects. Prior to her role at the medical school, she was a project manager at Wake County Government and middle school Spanish teacher at Duke School. Johanna is passionate about access to education and public service.
Johanna holds a BA in Spanish Education and Masters of Public Administration, both from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a board member of the UNC-Chapel Hill MPA Alumni Board at the School of Government.
Michael Frisch is an innovative and energetic leader with the proven ability to analyze businesses, services, operations, markets and growth opportunities and then introduce strategic and tactical solutions that improve competitive performance. He has spent ~35 years in the healthcare field working with dental practice management, radiology, radiation therapy and out-patient surgery companies. For the past 20 years, Michael has been part of senior and executive leader teams guiding these organizations. Additionally, during his time as an executive leader, Michael has overseen 20 acquisitions and 5 spin-offs.
Michael holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois and a MBA from DePaul University. For the past four years, Michael has devoted his energy to working as a pro-bono consultant with non-profits in the Triangle area. Since joining ESC three years ago, Michael’s area of focus has been organizational assessment, strategic planning, Board development and operational efficiency. Additionally, he has been a key presenter in the ESC Board Leadership Bootcamp series.
Keta is a practicing attorney specializing in civil litigation and labor law. She has been an active member of the legal community in Tennessee, and more recently the Triangle, for 18 plus years as an attorney and jurist. She currently works for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs representing its various sub-departments in the North Atlantic District. Prior to that, Keta worked as a litigation attorney in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office.
Keta is a graduate of Mercer University (Macon, Georgia) and the University of Tennessee College of Law (Knoxville) where she served as an editor of the Tennessee Law Review. She has served on various boards in Tennessee including MTSU’s Honors College Board of Visitors, the Stonecrest Hospital Board of Trustees, and the Nashville Metro Council Board of Ethics.
She recently moved to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area where she enjoys spending time with her family including her husband J. Steven Barnes and their two daughters..
Ellen Medearis, Vice President of Duke Health Development and Alumni Affairs (DHDAA) since 2011, has worked at Duke for more than 20 years. Prior to joining DHDAA, Medearis served in leadership positions within Duke Medicine and Duke University Development: she was Director of Major Gifts for Duke Medicine Development and Alumni Affairs, followed by Director of Major and Leadership Gifts, Executive Director, and then Associate Vice President for Duke University Development.
During her tenure at DHDAA, Medearis developed a new strategic plan for development and alumni programs, including a campaign plan and budget increases. The university-wide Duke Forward campaign was launched in September 2012, with a goal of $3.25B. The Duke Health fund raising goal of $1.2B was surpassed with $1.4B raised at the conclusion of the campaign in June 2017.
Medearis and her team have established a comprehensive faculty engagement program, a new principal gifts program, and a gift officer metrics and training program. In 2014, the DHDAA office was one of just two at the University, outside of the Health System, to conduct a culture survey in order to improve worker satisfaction and productivity. Additional surveys, along with a work culture committee, continue to be a key part of employee engagement.
DHDAA seeks to secure philanthropic support across all of Duke Health, pursuing the priorities of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, the hospitals, clinical and basic sciences departments.
Hathaway Pendergrass, a native of Carrboro, North Carolina works at Epting and Hackney law firm in Chapel Hill. He joined the firm in September, 2012, and focuses his practice on civil litigation and criminal law. He is a proud graduate of Chapel Hill High School. After high school, he entered UNC-CH, and graduated in 2006 with a BS in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business program. He entered North Carolina Central School of Law in 2009 where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the North Carolina Central Law Review and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012.
Hathaway is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Orange & Chatham Justice Initiatives affiliate, former President of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center Board of Directors, former President of the 15B Judicial District Bar, former Board Member of the Orange County Bar, a Teen Court Judge with Volunteers for Youth in Orange County, and volunteers as the attorney for EmPOWERment, Inc. Pendergrass previously served on the Carrboro Planning board, volunteered as the attorney for the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, and served as a volunteer in the 15B Judicial District Guardian Ad Litem program. He also enjoys running, attending Carolina sporting events, and spending time with his wife and kids.
Bruce L Runberg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota. He attended the Naval Academy and served in the Civil Engineer Corps of the Navy for 28 years, retiring as a Captain. He then served at UNC Chapel Hill as Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Services for 24 years, retiring in 2015.
Bruce was stationed in Vietnam, Scotland, Japan, Hawaii, Washington DC, Rhode Island, and Charleston, SC. His duties included public works, design/construction contract administration, Seabee Battalions and miscellaneous facilities related services.
He served at UNC from 1992 to 2015. This was during a time of great growth when facilities doubled in square footage, primarily due to the Higher Education Bond Program.
Bruce has a BS from USNA, a MSCE from the University of Minnesota, and a MSMGT from Salve Regina in Newport, RI. He has served on the Chapel Hill Planning Board, the Community Home Trust, as President of the Chapel Hill Rotary, Project Manager for the new American Legion Post 6 Building, and is Co-Chair of the Orange County Veterans Memorial.
Rebecca Moore is a ceramic artist living and working in Carrboro. She has been involved in education-related endeavors for many years, most recently as a college counselor for high school students. Rebecca homeschooled her children for many years (8 to be exact) and she served as head of administration for a Waldorf school in Chicago for three years. Prior to having children Rebecca worked at the University of Chicago under the head bibliographer for South Asia.
Rebecca has her BA from Michigan State University in Religious Studies and Women’s Studies, her MA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in South Asian Studies, and an MS in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Helen Kalisher is an artist, designer and business owner living in Chapel Hill, NC. Born in the UK, she spent many years traveling independently around the world before settling in the the U.S. She is a graduate of Chelsea College of Art in London, and spent her creative career designing for clients such as Apple, Dorling Kindersley and HP before starting her own Hospitality Art company (Kalisher) alongside her late husband, Jesse. Since retiring in 2018 she has been focusing on personal art projects, parenting her two teenagers, and exploring new skills ranging from advanced SCUBA diving to search and rescue volunteering.
Emily Evens is a North Carolina native who has lived in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area for 25 years. She is a social scientist with expertise in the design and implementation in applied global health research. She works at FHI 360, an international NGO based in Durham, NC and in her work, she collaborates with national and regional governments and community stakeholders in lower- and middle- income countries to strengthen health programs through the application of research results. Her research interests include maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, infectious diseases, supporting new innovations in health service delivery, and quality improvement. She has worked in more than 25 countries throughout East, Southern and West Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
Emily holds an BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and masters and doctoral degrees in Public Health from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a board member at the North Carolina Global Health Alliance. She enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband, children, and dog.
Mark Otter, is Chief Executive Officer at Participate, Inc. Prior to founding Participate in 2019, Mark was the COO of Participate Learning, and also gained experience and expertise as a global educator teaching secondary math and science in public schools in Nova Scotia, North Carolina, Virginia, and London, England from 1998 to 2008. It was during his time in London that Mark was named the UK Visiting International Faculty Teacher of the year for 2001-02. Connect with him on Twitter @markjotter.
Riza Jenkins is a Senior Consultant with ICF in the Energy, Environment, and Infrastructure operating group. Riza worked as the Vice President of Asset Management for Summit Ridge Energy (SRE), managing its growing community solar portfolio. Riza also managed Strata Solar’s Asset Management department overseeing its 900 MW portfolio of solar projects.
In addition to her participation as a board member for The ArtsCenter, Riza serves on the board for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA). Riza currently serves on the NCSEA’s Strategy-Development board committee and is the former chair for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion board committee and Secretary. Riza was elected to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) Board of Education in 2021 and serves on the Student Success board committee and chair for the Finance, Facilities, and Operations board committee. Riza is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and has her JD-MBA from Howard University. Riza lives in Chapel Hill with her three children
Becky Woodruff is the Owner/Manager of the Frame & Print Shop at University Place and The Frame & Print Shop North in Timberlyne Village. In her previous employment as a therapist at UNC Hospitals, Becky was involved in multiple community events with multidisciplinary teams to include education outreach, reunions, and teaching for Burn Survivors and Rehabilitation patients. Becky was co-chair for the SECU Family House Capital Campaign and continues to assist her team The SECU House Woodruff Warriors, with monthly meals. Becky was a collegiate and US National Team Springboard/Platform diver in her youth and mid-twenties. She presently volunteers with the UNC Collegiate Diving Program as their announcer at meets and also announces at the ACC Swimming & Diving Championships. Becky started a summer league diving program 30 years ago which provides grassroots learning opportunities for children of all ages and abilities, and it continues to this day. Becky & her Husband, Bob, purchased the Frame & Print Shop 9 years ago with no retail or framing experience. Most important to Becky is costumer service, community involvement and opportunities to give back to her community. Last year she started The Artist Frame HUB which offers artists free gently used frames and supplies and also offers wholesale framing supplies to make preserving their art for shows and events affordable. She supports and donates to local art groups such Orange County and Chatham County Artist Guilds, and the Orange County Art Council.
- The ArtsCenter 2016-2017 Performance Season Brochure
- The ArtsCenter 2017-2018 Performance Season Brochure
- The ArtsCenter 2018-2019 Performance Season Brochure
- The ArtsCenter 2019-2020 Performance Season Brochure
- ArtSchool Catalog Fall 2016
- ArtSchool Catalog Winter/Spring 2017
- ArtSchool Catalog Summer 2017
- ArtSchool Catalog Fall 2017
- ArtSchool Catalog Winter/Spring 2018
- ArtSchool Catalog Summer 2018
- ArtSchool Catalog Fall 2018
- ArtSchool Pamphlet Winter 2019
- ArtSchool Pamphlet Spring 2019
- ArtSchool Catalog Summer 2019
- ArtSchool Catalog Fall 2019
- ArtsCamp Catalog 2017
- Summer Youth Workshops Catalog 2017
- ArtsCamp Catalog 2018
- ArtsCamp Catalog 2019
- ArtsCamp Catalog 2020
- ArtsCamp Catalog 2021
- The ArtsCenter Annual Report 2015
- The ArtsCenter Annual Report 2016
- The ArtsCenter Annual Report 2017
- The ArtsCenter Annual Report 2018
Visitor Info & Accessibility
Box Office Hours
Monday through Friday: 9am – 9pm except during showtimes
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
The ArtsCenter is closed for the following Holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day & the day after, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. If a holiday falls on a Saturday, we observe it the previous Friday. If it falls on a Sunday, we observe it the following Monday.
Tickets to performances and classes are available at the Box Office during Box Office hours in person or by phone, (919) 929-2787, extension 0. Tickets to performances, classes and camp registration are available online any time. (Sales tax and a handling fee are assessed per ticket; these fees are the same regardless of purchase method.)
Student and Senior (62+) pricing are available for select events, but these tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office with appropriate ID.
The ArtsCenter is committed to embracing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 in order to make access and inclusion in the arts an everyday practice in our facility. Upon request, The ArtsCenter will provide accommodation towards individuals with disabilities, ensuring an optimal experience for all visitors.
Plenty of parking is available! You may park directly in front of the ArtsCenter or in the new parking deck directly (to the east) behind the Hampton Inn. The lot and deck are free with unlimited time restrictions on weeknights after 5:30pm and all day on the weekends. Monday through Friday the lot and deck, while still free, are restricted to 3 hour limits between the hours of 8am – 5:30pm. If you are visiting The ArtsCenter and plan on staying for more than 3 hours, you may pick up a temporary parking pass from our box office attendant.
Rent The ArtsCenter
The ArtsCenter’s theaters, studios/classrooms, and gallery are available for your event.
We offer a variety of venue options that cater to nearly any type of function including, but not limited to: concerts, theater events, dances, video & photo shoots, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, business/organizational meetings, movie premieres, seminars, rehearsals, memorial services, galas, university functions…you name it! We invite you to let us assist in making your function the best it can be.
Please contact Tracy Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org for information regarding rates and availability.
Which venues does The ArtsCenter rent?
The ArtsCenter rents The Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater, The West End Theater, The Nicholson Gallery, and four separate studio/classroom spaces.
What are the specs for each of The ArtsCenter’s venues?
Tech specs can be found below this FAQ. Studios/classrooms vary in size and shape and can accommodate 8-15 people each, depending on the way they are set up.
How do I inquire about a venue’s availability?
Please contact our Production Manager Tracy Francis at email@example.com for information regarding venue rates and availability.
What kinds of events can The ArtsCenter accommodate?
We offer a variety of venue options that cater to nearly any type of function including, but not limited to, concerts, theater events, video & photo shoots, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies, business/ organizational meetings, movie premieres, seminars, rehearsals, memorial services, galas, dances, and university functions.
How far in advance does The ArtsCenter book its venues?
We recommend starting the booking process at least three months in advance. We require a minimum of two weeks’ notice for rentals.
What is The ArtsCenter’s policy on holding or reserving dates?
The ArtsCenter requires a nonrefundable deposit equivalent to half of the total rental fee along with a signed rental contract and a certificate of insurance (COI) to hold or reserve a date. As a courtesy, The ArtsCenter may issue a “soft hold” on an available date while the initial discussions about a potential rental take place, but a soft hold does not guarantee the venue’s availability.
How much will my rental cost?
The total rental fee for an event is calculated based on the access hours in each venue (access hours include the time necessary for load-in, set up, program, and clean up) multiplied by that venue’s hourly rental rate; a standard staffing fee; and any applicable fees from our menu of optional services. In most cases, we require a refundable cleaning deposit to be submitted with each rental contract.
Costs will be calculated on a case-by-case basis after you contact The ArtsCenter’s Production Manager Tracy Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss availability.
What are the various venues’ base rates?
- Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater: $115/hr
- West End Theater: $95/hr
- Nicholson Gallery: $95/hr
- Classrooms and studios: $55/hr
+$15/hr staffing fee
Inquire about discounts for certified nonprofit organizations with a current 501(c)(3) status.
How does payment work?
Once the rental date(s), access times, and the total rental fee are established, a rental contract is issued detailing the agreement and The ArtsCenter’s rental policies. A nonrefundable deposit equivalent to 50% of the total rental fee is due with the signed rental contract, a certificate of insurance (COI), and a cleaning deposit*. Once these items are collected, the date(s) will be held for the rental.
The remaining 50% of the total rental fee is due on the day of the rental. (If a rental includes a contiguous range of dates, the remaining percentage of the total rental fee is due on the first day of that range. If a rental includes isolated dates across a span of multiple weeks or months, a payment plan for that interval will be established in the rental contract.)
The ArtsCenter can process rental payments by check (made payable to The ArtsCenter), credit card, or cash.
*In most cases, a refundable cleaning deposit will be assessed for each rental. We ask that a separate check (made out to The ArtsCenter) is submitted for this deposit. The cleaning deposit check will be held and deposited only if The ArtsCenter must clean the venue after the event.
What is the “certificate of insurance” (COI) required with the contract and deposit?
We need a certificate serving as proof of liability insurance with The ArtsCenter named as “additional insured” on that policy. You can obtain this certificate from your insurance provider; usually it only involves a quick phone call.
Once a contract is in place, can I extend the access hours for my rental if I decide I need more time?
No. The rental access period begins and ends at the times agreed upon in advance and designated in the rental contract. Staffing and scheduling decisions are based on the contracted rental access period, so it is important to adhere to the hours specified in advance. Adherence to the contracted rental access period helps keep our rental fees consistent and fair for all renters. When planning your event, please keep in mind that your rental access period must include all time necessary for load-in, set up, program, and clean up.
Does The ArtsCenter provide an event planner?
No. Renters are responsible for planning their events and/or securing assistance from an outside event planner. While The ArtsCenter is happy to help renters realize their plans, we cannot take on a conceptual role in that process.
What is the staffing/personnel fee for?
The staffing/personnel fee covers the costs required to keep the building open during an event. It may include a Box Office Associate and/or a House Manager. While ArtsCenter staff can help advise and coordinate set up on the day of an event, renters should plan to execute their own set up and clean up.
What optional services are available?
Optional services include the following:
- AV (sound/light) technician: $125 flat fee (covers up to 5 hours)
- Ticketing/event listing: $100 flat fee
- Baldwin grand piano backline rental (Wynn Theater only): $150 flat fee
- Piano tuning prior to your event (Wynn Theater only): $150 flat fee
- Projector rental: $30 flat fee
- Bar service: $15/hour*
*If a renter supplies outside alcohol, a $175 corkage fee is assessed in the rental contract.
What marketing and promotional resources are available through The ArtsCenter?
Renters are responsible for promoting and publicizing their own events. The “ticketing/event listing” item on the optional services menu above includes setup of an event splash page including a description of your event and a link to our online ticket vendor. Additional marketing services may be available from The ArtsCenter’s Marketing Department on a case-by-case basis depending on the Marketing Department’s work load.
Does The ArtsCenter have an exclusive contract with specific caterers and vendors?
No. The ArtsCenter does not currently have an exclusive contract with any one caterer or vendor for rental events in our venues.
Can The ArtsCenter recommend some caterers and vendors?
Yes. We can often recommend local caterers and vendors which may be suited to your event.
May I broadcast or record my event at The ArtsCenter?
We ask that renters inform us in advance if their event will produce broadcast, audio, or visual recordings made at The ArtsCenter. The ArtsCenter should be acknowledged in all credits as “The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC.”
May I use The ArtsCenter’s tables and chairs in my event setup?
Yes. Renters are welcome to use The ArtsCenter’s tables and chairs for their event. The ArtsCenter has banquet-style folding tables and some smaller café tables, all of which are available depending on programming elsewhere in the building. We recommend that renters supply their own tablecloths. All furniture should be returned to its original configuration at the end of an event as a part of the cleanup process.
Do your venues have WiFi access?
The ArtsCenter has a free public WiFi network which is accessible throughout most of the building. The WiFi network can be accessed from the two theaters, the gallery, and two of the four studio/classroom spaces.
Where are The ArtsCenter’s venues located?
All our venues are in the same building in downtown Carrboro, NC. Our address is 300-G East Main St, Carrboro NC 27510.
Is parking available?
Yes. The Town of Carrboro supplies public parking in a variety of locations convenient to The ArtsCenter, including the first two floors of a parking deck adjacent to and behind the building, and in a lot at the end of the block to the west. In addition, there is a parking lot with hourly parking spaces directly in front of the 300-G East Main complex.
The Nicholson Gallery
The Nicholson Gallery is the perfect reception area to accommodate any function. The high ceiling, sky lighting, and artwork adorning the walls add to the allure of the space.