Everyone needs a little help from friends, and Jacoby Arts Center is no exception. An auxiliary group, Friends of Jacoby, was launched this week.

A core group of 20 volunteers has been assisting with receptions, concerts and special events for the past year, led by Dr. Delores Kilgo, art consultant and retired art professor. The volunteers have decorated, provided refreshments, and staffed a number of activities.

The busy group is looking for help by reaching out for new members.  But they are also anticipating the expanded program schedule of lectures, tours, and art activities to be offered by the Friends.

The Friends is another level of membership for those who want to participate more actively in the events at the cultural center. Friends must be general members, and they pay an additional $25 per year to participate in Friends only programs. Friends funds will be used for equipment, materials or services to enhance the mission of JAC.

JAC is currently operated by a small paid staff and an interim board while it continues a capital drive to become debt-free. JAC leaders also must raise funds for physical repair and improvements to the center.

Now co-chaired by Judi Mottaz of Grafton and Linda Benson of Florrissant, MO, the Friends will promote and support the Jacoby Arts Center through fundraising, social activities, membership development and educational programs. Mottaz promises a healthy mix of work and play for active friends. “There will definitely be FUNraising along with Fundraising as we work to make JAC a premiere art center in the region,” she promises.

A monthly series of cultural opportunities is now available for registrations. One of the group’s scheduled events is for Friends only, but most programs are open to anyone.

Dubbed “Fun with Friends on First Wednesday,” activities include:

• August 6, 7 p.m. Release your inner artist! Be whimsical and creative with collage. Guided by Rose Mary Towey, Katy Wills, Modell Yates. $20 includes materials and snacks. Limited to 20 participants.

• September 3,  1:30-3:30 p.m. Bellefontaine Cemetery tour with master guide. Historic cemetery is noted for its scenic beauty and its insight into St. Louis history. Mausoleum, chapel feature Tiffany windows. There are famous folks with fabulous monuments. This is for Friends members only, unless space available two days before scheduled trip. Free except for optional early lunch. Caravan with 5-6 stops. Walking on uneven grounds. Limit 20.   

• October 1,  7 p.m. “Of Color and Light” artists  will share insights into the exhibit by 12 Midwest Painters. The exhibit runs from September 6 through October 11.  $15 admission includes snacks and bar.          

• November 5, 7 p.m.   “Meet the Ladies”  features retired music professor  Ron Abraham highlighting the lives and music of  women composers.  $15 admission includes snacks and bar.

A holiday event is in the planning stages.

To register for any of the Friends activities or join the group, contact Jacoby Arts Center, 627 E. Broadway, Alton, IL 62002.  Additional information is available at the center. friends@jacobyartscenter.org, the web page www.jacobyartscenter.org or 618-462-5222.

Jacoby Arts Center is a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing quality arts events and expanding the cultural life of the region.

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