TACS holds annual celebration of members and volunteers

Published 11:35 am Friday, February 2, 2024

TRYON—On Tuesday evening, the Tryon Arts & Crafts School held its annual celebration of members and volunteers, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the organization. 

The “Chili and Cheers” event featured a first look at the school’s 2023 annual report, various awards and several varieties of chili prepared by TACS members and volunteers. 

The celebration began with a presentation of the 2023 annual report, which highlighted a year of record highs in membership, program attendance and the completion of essential capital projects – from solar energy to repaving and HVAC upgrades – made possible by the Polk County Community Foundation’s support. 

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The Community Outreach Award was given to Ann Gleason for her tireless efforts in using her ceramics expertise for the annual Empty Bowls Project. Gleason has thrown, trimmed, glazed and kiln-fired thousands of bowls, helping fight food insecurity in western North Carolina. 

Jill Kemp and Laura White were honored with the Jerry B. Pospisil Award for Exceptional Service as Volunteer of the Year. The duo have been the lead coordinators for TACS’ exhibition reception food service for roughly five years and received recognition for their dedication to culinary creativity and beautiful presentation. 

In addition to the awards, staff members were also recognized for their hard work. Diana Jackson, Systems and Programs Manager, has worn many hats at TACS for 17 years, while Alex Gerst, Marketing and Events Coordinator, has worked there for two years. Susan McDade, Clay Studio Assistant, has been with TACS for 2.5 years. They all received live plants as a token of appreciation. 

Will Barclift, Executive Director of TACS, received a “much-needed” spa day as a gift for his 5 1/2 years of service. 

“TACS’ Board curated this event to thank our members, volunteers and patrons for their vital contributions. Our supporters are spread across our fundraisers, festivals, exhibitions and seven studio departments. This event provides an excellent opportunity for the diverse contributors to come together, share their unique stories, and foster a sense of creative community,” said Barclift. 

TACS expressed gratitude to the entire community for the ongoing investment in their journey and the elevation of the organization. They also announced several upcoming events, including Fusefest on February 16 -18 and the Hearth & Flame: Open Flame Dinner on March 15. For more information on the school’s events or classes, visit tryonartsandcrafts.org.