Art Talk with Milton Rhodes

By Adam Kampe
Milton Rhodes on Stairwell at Sawtooth Arts Center

Photo by Wendy Hanes. 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is known as a great town in which to raise a family or retire, but it’s increasingly getting more and more recognition for its reputation as an arts and research hub. In addition to the North Carolina School of the Arts, the city is home to the largest research park in the country (Wake Forest Innovation Quarter), two stunning art parks—Bailey Park and Artivity on the Greenand a raft of thriving small businesses and repurposed tobacco factories. Somehow Winston-Salem, a city once synonymous with cigarettes, emerged as the City of Arts and Innovation. But how?

That’s what I asked Milton Rhodes, a man who’s lived off and on in Winston-Salem since 1968. For 24 of those years, 1971-85 and 2004-2013, Rhodes was at the helm of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Largely because of his dedication, passion, and vision, the city is riding high as a place to be. In this Art Talk, Rhodes shares how the arts council was born (it's the first in the nation), how a local arts council functions, and what it is an arts council president does. 

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