As the Christmas shopping season approaches, the Stokes County Arts Council wants to help you find the perfect gift for the friend who already has everything: A 2016 Calendar with prize-winning photographs, designed and produced entirely in Stokes County by Arts Council members
“A calendar,” says President Ellen Peric, “lets your friend know that you care, every day of the year.” In this case, she notes, 397 days: The calendar spans 13 months, from December 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. (2016 is a Leap Year.)
“What do you give the friend who already has everything?” she asks, “a calendar. You can never have too many calendars.”
The calendars go on sale this week. Peric says if you can’t find one at a nearby store, order online at the Arts Council website (www.stokesarts.org), or call (336) 593-8159.
“This calendar won’t break your gift-giving budget,” Peric notes. “It’s priced reasonably at just $14.95. Proceeds will support Arts Education in Stokes County schools.”
Eddy McGee, the Arts Council’s Executive Director, said, “We’ve talked about producing an annual calendar for years, and have had many of our member supporters mention their interest in the idea.”
The problem: “Online, we could buy stock calendars and put our name on them. But they’d cost too much. And we’d be stuck with stock pictures of flowers and birds from somewhere else, like Wyoming or Arizona. That’s not what we’re about. We’re about Stokes County.”
He continued, “After discussing the idea as a group, we discovered one of our members had experience designing and producing calendars. He figured how we could produce a calendar locally, much cheaper than those you get online. Everything – photographs, design, events, production, and printing – will be done in Stokes County.”
He added, “I was skeptical until I saw the first proof. It was professional, in capital letters. The quality was amazing. The photographs, done by Kitty Ray Brown and Jess Moore – well, every one of them is a prizewinner. All made in Stokes County, showing us at our best.”
He noted, “We don’t ask taxpayers to fund Arts Council projects. We try to raise the money on our own. A big project we fund each year is our Arts Education programs in Stokes County schools. Proceeds from the calendar will help pay for that.”
Peric agrees. “This calendar is produced in Stokes County, by Stokes County people, and it’s all about Stokes County. I’d put the quality of this calendar up against any calendar in the country. It’s professional. It’s beautiful. We’re proud to offer it.”
Because the calendar is produced locally, Peric said it contains information specific to the county. “Every Arts Council event on our schedule is in the calendar. Everything from North Carolina holidays, to election days, to full moons, to eclipses, to parades, to swimming dates at Hanging Rock Lake – and on and on. It’s all there.”
Beyond that, Peric said, “There’s plenty of room each month for you to put your own appointments in. It’s printed on paper that accepts pencil or pen without smearing.”
She added, “We tried to think of everything. It’s in a small format, for people who just don’t have that much wall space. It’s packaged in a zip-lock plastic sleeve, with a cardboard stiffener. Peel off the price tag, write the mailing address on the stiffener, mail it to a friend. It’s a great gift for the friend who has everything.”
The calendars also have a UPC barcode for retailers. Peric explained, “To do this professionally, we felt we should purchase a registered UPC barcode. Barcodes aren’t cheap, but we wanted to make it easy for retailers who have cash-register scanners. We have a wholesale bulk price for retail vendors that will let them show a profit, just as they would on any product. We’re not asking them to give up display space for nothing.”
Starting this week, Arts Council Board members will travel the county, offering the calendars to professional offices (gifts for clients), retail stores, and individuals who need that gift for the friend who already has everything.
How many calendars does the Arts Council expect to sell? Peric responded, “This is our first year. If we sell 1,000, we’ll call it a success. Next year, and in years after, we expect to see the number grow exponentially.”
She said Brown and Moore have agreed to produce new calendar-quality photographs for the next five years.