Turner Center for the Arts 2021-2026 Strategic Plan

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Strategic Plan


Travis d Simmons



Executive Message

Vision | Mission | Values

Who We Are

Our History

Organization & Structure








Priorities & Goals

Strategic Alliance


Art Education

Facilities & Land Usage

Organizational Structure

Accountability & Assessment

Moving Forward










Executive Message

The Turner Center is proud to play a critical role in supporting the arts in Georgia; and more

importantly, proud to enhance the quality of life in the southeast region through the arts.

On behalf of the Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission,

Inc. and the Annette Howell Turner Center for the

Arts, we are pleased to share with you our excitement

for the future of the arts across our community, state

and region. We are fortunate to live in Valdosta,

Lowndes County, Georgia where the arts and

culture sectors are thriving in our school systems, in

neighborhoods and parks, and into the furthest parts

of the county. We are pleased to be a part of 21,670

businesses and 129,383 employees statewide involved

in the creation or distribution of the arts (Americans

for the Arts, 2020). The Turner Center is proud to

play a critical role in supporting the “business of art”

in Georgia; and more importantly, we are proud to

enhance the quality of life in the southeast region

through the arts.

In the midst of the national and global health crisis

that plagued most of the year 2020, the Turner Center

focused on our privilege of safely serving our patrons

and steadfastly seeking their input and involvement

through a broad, community-based strategic planning

process. The 2021-2026 Strategic Plan is a result of

our community-wide survey, evaluations of classroom

and event experiences, and input from our board, staff,

artists, and volunteers. This Strategic Plan marks the

course ahead for the Turner Center that has evolved

out of careful consideration of all input received,

propelling us to continue to create the highest quality

experiences through our arts education, entertainment

and culture enrichment programs that our community

has come to expect.


We thank a very diligent Strategic Planning Committee

who guided the conversations that were inclusive and

energized. We are also grateful for the leadership of the

LVAC Board and for their approval of this plan that will

advance the Turner Center to the next level of excellence.

Furthermore, we are obliged to the city of Valdosta and

Lowndes County for their sustained advocacy for the

arts, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts,

the Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgians for the Arts,

South Arts, Inc., and a host of other friends who provide

inspiration, funding and other resources to help us to

achieve our goals as described in this Strategic Plan.

The year 2020 presented many challenges to the arts

including how to provide safe and creative ways to engage

in the arts and how to provide a more diverse and inclusive

experience for our patrons. The Turner Center continues

to be a popular gathering place in the South for dynamic

engagement with the arts. Through multidisciplinary

classes and programming for the regional community,

the Turner Center seeks to inspire creative expression in

all people and stimulate an environment for the arts to

flourish for years to come.

For the love of the arts,

Bruce Smith

LVAC President

Sementha Mathews

Executive Director


Vision, Mission

& Values


The Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission (LVAC), parent organization of the

Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts (Turner Center), inspires all people

to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the

social and economic health of their vibrant communities.


The mission of the Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission (LVAC) is to promote

and celebrate the arts by serving as a regional center for cultural enrichment,

education and entertainment.


Commit to service

Value the creative process

Foster diversity and inclusion of all people

Produce quality programs and events

Promote artistry through education

Pledge ethical behavior

Strengthen our position as a community role model

Nurture a multi-faceted artistic experience

Empower people to appreciate and participate in the arts


Who we are

The Community

The Annette Howell Turner Center for the

Arts is an anchor for the creative community

in Valdosta, Georgia. Established in 1860,

Valdosta, the county seat of Lowndes

County, has a population of 56,457, per U.S.

Census data. Lowndes County, established

in 1825, has a population of 117,406 and

is also one of four counties that make up

the Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area

(Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes) with a

combined population of 139,588. The Turner

Center proudly serves these residents, as

well as the populations of the surrounding

communities in South Georgia and North


Other interesting facts about the area,

according to 2019 U.S. Census data, are:

The residents of Valdosta are nearly

evenly split male and female; 22.9

percent are under the age of 18 and 11.4

percent are over age 65.

More than 40.8 percent of the Valdosta

residents are white, 52.9 percent are

African American, and 5.3 percent are

Hispanic, with the remainder being made

up of Pacific Islander, Asian, and other.

More than 10,858 veterans reside

in Valdosta and Lowndes County


Nearly 84.4 percent of Lowndes County

residents who are 25 years or older are

high school graduates; more than 51

percent have attended college; and 25.7

percent have earned a Bachelor’s degree

or higher.

The combined non-government economy

in Valdosta and Lowndes County is led

by the following industries: advanced

manufacturing, agribusiness and food

processing, warehouse and distribution,

and healthcare.

Some of the major employers in the

region include South Georgia Medical

Center, Valdosta State University, Moody

Air Force Base and the local government

and school systems.


The City of Valdosta recognizes the

tremendous value of the artistic and

cultural enrichment experiences

provided by the Annette Howell

Turner Center for the Arts for

our residents and visitors to our

community. The arts are a powerful

resource for revitalization and

provide physical, social, cultural and

economic benefits. There is no doubt

that the Turner Center has added

to the tourism and culture of our

community. The Turner Center is a

vital part of our city, helping us to

become better versions of ourselves

and making us a better community.

I believe Valdosta has embraced the

arts and successfully transformed our

community to be inclusive, inviting

and innovative.

City of Valdosta

Mayor Scott James Matheson

The Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission (LVAC) was

chartered in 1962 as an outgrowth of Arts, Inc., which

was the earliest cohesive promoter of the arts in our

community. LVAC was reorganized in 1978 as a private

non-profit corporation. For years, it was housed in the

“Turpentine Building,” a small facility near Valdosta

State University. Following a successful capital

campaign beginning in 1993, LVAC purchased a parcel

of land on N. Patterson Street and renovated the

former First State Bank and Trust building as its new

home. Former Georgia Senator Dr. Loyce Turner and

his family gave a significant gift to the Center to be

named in memory of his late wife, Annette Howell

Turner. The Annette Howell Turner Center for the

Arts was dedicated in April 2003. The ADA compliant

Center now houses:

Seven galleries

Two classrooms

Two music rooms

A conference room

A gift shop showcasing local and regional

artists’ works

An art library

State-of-the-art kitchen for culinary classes

Two outdoor water features

Venue rental space

Center administrative offices


Our history

The Turner Center has become an

integral gathering place for social,

business and nonprofit functions,

as well as a popular rental space for

private parties, weddings, rehearsal

dinners, baby and bridal showers,

and other special events.

In 2007, the Center obtained and

subsequently transformed an

adjacent building to become its

pottery and ceramics studio. The

Hudson Pottery Studio was named

in honor of Leona and Dugald

Hudson, whose 2008 estate gift

doubled the Center’s Endowment

Fund. The Center’s campus also

includes the Art Annex, which was

renovated in 2018 and houses two

large youth classrooms, meeting and

rental space, and artist studios.

In 2019, an adjoining vacant lot

was converted into the beautifully

landscaped Art Park, featuring a

fully powered pavilion for classes,

music concerts and special occasion

rentals, and housing public art

pieces, several murals, and picnic

benches for outdoor enjoyment—

the first of its kind in the city of


A construction project in 2020

expanded the Hudson Pottery

Studio to include patron restrooms

for the Art Park venue and a large

covered patio space for outdoor

classroom use.

In 2021, LVAC received a generous

donation from Dan and Carolyn

Coleman to acquire the adjacent

former Synovus Bank property on

N. Ashley Street. The purchase

expanded the Turner Center campus

by two buildings and a much-needed

parking lot. One of the buildings will

become the Meta Shaw Coleman

Children’s Art Museum, in memory

of Dan Coleman’s mother, and

will open in fall 2022. The other

building is being considered for a

glassblowing operation.

The LVAC Board and Turner Center

staff continue to examine ways

to wholly utilize their campus to

provide a variety of meaningful

experiences for the diverse

populations they serve.



& Structure

As the Artist-in-Residence, I am grateful for the resourceful space that

the Turner Center provides me that inspires me to create. I am proud to

serve the Turner Center by pouring myself into my paintings, teaching

art to our patrons, and networking with my peers—all of which

strengthens me into a more well-rounded artist.

Artist Annette Crosby


LVAC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that meets

monthly nine times a year. The Board’s primary responsibilities

include hiring and working closely with the Executive Director,

setting and overseeing the general policies and procedures

of the Turner Center, as well as approving and supporting the

activities of standing committees. The standing committees,

made up of chairs and board members who work together

with Turner Center staff to accomplish the goals and priorities

of the mission, include:

Education Committee

Finance Committee

Governance and Nominating Committee

House Committee

Long-Range Planning Committee

Marketing Committee

Personnel Committee

Presenter Series Committee

Special Events Committee

Visual Arts Committee

Daily operations are performed by the Executive Director and

a professional, paid staff. An extensive network of volunteers

serves as front-desk ambassadors who attend to Center needs

in a myriad of other ways.



The purpose of the Center for the Arts Guild (CAG) is

to promote interest in and render service to the Turner

Center. CAG membership is open to all persons showing

genuine interest in the Turner Center. CAG’s Executive

Board raises funds to support:

Center operations

Educational programs for adults and children

Educational scholarships

Capital improvements

CAG also provides:

Refreshments for Center gallery opening receptions

Art ambassadors to staff the Center’s

reception desk

Volunteers at Center events

Pre-show dinners during the Presenter Series



The Central South Georgia Region has a rather sizable and cohesive cultural arts scene. The Turner Center allies

with the following arts organizations and businesses in the region, including but not limited to:

Adult and youth theater programs

Area nonprofits

Area-wide arts presenters, performers and


Art galleries, frame shops, and other art retailers

Arts educators including university, college, K-12

art departments and homeschools

Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta

Dance studios

Literary groups

Local government art initiatives

Lowndes County Conference Center &

Tourism Authority

Moody AFB adult and youth programs

Peach State Summer Theatre

Performance studios

Theatre Guild Valdosta

Valdosta Choral Guild

Valdosta Public Art Advisory Committee

Valdosta State University

Valdosta Symphony Orchestra & Guild

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College




Expanded campus to include two acquired buildings and an additional parking lot

Completed six capital improvement projects

Developed a sizable vacant lot into the community’s first Art Park

Established an Artist-in-Residence program

Increased Endowment Fund to $1.82 million (as of February 2021)

Increasing public art in the community through collaboration with the Valdosta

Public Art Advisory Committee

Created ARToberfest, a regional art festival held every October in the

Art Park

Possesses no mortgage debt

Maintains two permanent art collections: East African Art and Fine

European Porcelain

Maintains Yamaha Baby Grand Piano for educational and entertainment


Received the 2020 Preservation Award from the Valdosta Tree Commission for

preservation of trees on its campus

Maintains an inventory of musical instruments for student instruction

Established an on-site art library through a partnership with the South Georgia

Library Systems of Georgia.

Established a STEAM On Tour collection of 29 professionally framed prints of

historically famous art works and corresponding curriculum, available to local

educators to borrow for use in the classroom.



Spring into Art – 34 years (open annual exhibition that invites visual artists working in most two- and threedimensional

mediums to exhibit their work and compete for $6,000 in cash awards)

Presenter Series – 50+ years (annual presentation of professionally produced, national touring

Broadway-style shows)

Gallery Art Exhibits – 20+ exhibits annually showcasing professional local, regional and international artists

DrawProject – 16 years (annual fundraising collaboration with VSU that benefits student art scholarships)

Youth Art Month and Regional High School Art Competition – 17 years (annual celebration in conjunction with

Georgia and National Youth Art Month celebrations)

Music in the Art Park – 2 years of concerts, cultural heritage and dramatic presentations

Valdosta City Photo Contest – 13 years (annual collaboration with the City of Valdosta that celebrates

photographic art depicting our beautiful community)

Art Explorations – 14 years (annual collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta and the Valdosta State

University Department of Art & Design)

Art classes and workshops – 200+ offered annually

Artist talks, book signings and other special presentations – throughout the year

Musical instruction for adults and youth

Scholarships are available for classes



& Goals

The Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission Board of Directors and Turner

Center for the Arts staff seeks to accomplish 10 goals within five identified

priority areas of Center growth to positively impact the future of the arts in

our community.


Goal 1

Strengthen financial stability and sustainability of

the Turner Center


a. Increase number and amounts of grants received each year

b. Increase annual contributions through our membership program

c. Create a “Legacy Foundation” to raise endowment funds for future stability

d. Increase earned income and fundraising capability

e. Ensure the integrity of the Turner Center’s accounting systems and processes

Goal 2

Reinforce the Turner Center’s position as a means for

regional economic development


a. Grow community involvement and financial support for the Turner Center

through increased focus on development of partnerships

b. Boost participation of more segments of the population based on addition or

shift in programming

c. Work with area government agencies to further develop the arts as a tool for

economic growth

d. Cultivate alliances with area cultural organizations

e. Strengthen relationships with regional artists for mutual economic benefits



Goal 3

Create marketing strategies that reinforce the brand

of the Turner Center throughout the region


a. Increase awareness of, participation in, and support of the diverse

programs and activities of the Turner Center

b. Increase membership in the Turner Center

c. Maintain and enhance major donor recognition programs

d. Continue to identify new areas and groups to market and support

Turner Center programs

e. Drive participation through expanded outreach

f. Develop and utilize methods to solicit public input



Goal 4

Enhance Turner Center programs to engage and

sustain community participation


a. Develop partnerships that provide dedicated funding for

specific programs

b. Continue to expand computer-based art and

technology classes

c. Continue to expand Artist-in-Residence




Goal 5

Maintain, update and reconfigure physical assets in support of our

mission and programs


a. Maintain a monthly, quarterly, yearly checklist (record) for the maintenance, safety and security of the facilities

b. Enhance outdoor signage, through collaboration with appropriate committees, to increase communication of

activities and create excitement about entering the Turner Center

c. Coordinate with LVAC committees to identify physical and technological needs for current and future programs

d. Continue development of a comprehensive land and building use plan for all Turner Center properties to

explore opportunities and determine best short-term use and evaluate long-term direction




Goal 6

Identify, develop and define the roles of Turner Center



a. Recruit and train qualified volunteers

b. Encourage volunteers to support staff and Turner Center events

c. Improve retention of volunteers

Goal 7

Nurture a quality work environment


a. Maintain training and succession plans to ensure continuity

of all staff positions

b. Assess and promote ongoing professional development of staff


Goal 8

Ensure proficient development and governance

of the Board of Directors


a. Define and communicate individual responsibilities to LVAC

Board members

b. Ensure stability of the Board of Directors by encouraging

professional development

c. Ensure that the Board reflects diversity of community through

intentional recruitment

Goal 9

Revise Policies and Procedures Manuals

Goal 10

Develop a policy to address need to exemplify

diversity and inclusivity in all areas of

Turner Center governance and operations.



& Assessment

The Strategic Plan requires the engagement of the entire LVAC Board and conscientious attention to program

progress and evaluation. Our measurable goals are tied to our vision. The highlights of the assessment process are:

Tracking progress of goals, outcomes and measurable action steps using the established progress template

Communicating with those responsible for carrying out assignments

Monitoring budgets

Guiding the Strategic Plan to projected timelines

Reporting progress to entire LVAC Board on a regular basis


Moving forward

The arts are a

crucial part of

the quality of life

component in

Lowndes County;

and we are

extremely fortunate

to have the premier

regional arts center,

the Annette Howell

Turner Center

for the Arts, in

our community.

Lowndes County

fully supports the

Turner Center’s

efforts in making the

arts a top priority

for Lowndes County

and our citizens.

Lowndes County

Board of Commissioners

Chairman Bill Slaughter


Courageously Moving Forward

“Creativity Takes Courage,” said In 2022, the Turner Center

the renowned French artist Henri celebrates 60 years of art cultivation

Matisse. The unforeseen global within the communities of Valdosta,

events of 2020 confirmed in us Lowndes County and across our

collectively—as board and staff region. For years to come, we will

members, stakeholders, volunteers, continue to play a vital role in

and patrons—that the arts are an economic development, and our

essential element of life in which artists will serve as catalysts to

all people should have equal

enrich and revitalize the community.

access. The assurance we received The accomplishment of the 2021-

during the COVID-19 pandemic 2026 Strategic Plan places the

strengthened our resolve to

Turner Center in a position to

courageously step “outside the box” strengthen the region and enhance

with creative art programs, enriching our deep commitment to serve as

cultural events, and inclusive

leaders, educators and mentors.

opportunities for all.

We will carefully utilize our roles

to further intensify community

The Turner Center for the Arts’ impact through increased outreach,

2021-2026 Strategic Plan provides innovative development, economic

the blueprints to move forward growth and creative placemaking.

with an increasing enthusiasm to

accomplish that task. With a priority We expect the 2021-2026 Strategic

on strategic alliances, marketing, Plan to fulfill the expectations of our

art education, facilities and land patrons and stakeholders and have

usage, and organizational structure, a profound impact on current and

coupled with 10 solid goals and future operations. We courageously

related action steps, we confidently and enthusiastically look forward to

embark on our creative future. the privilege.


LVAC Board Officers


Bruce Smith – President

Tina Folsom – Vice President

Al Turner – Treasurer

Stefani Carroll – Secretary

LVAC Board


Jennifer Alvarez

Beverly Blake

Stephanie Blevins

Jane Burgsteiner

Stefani Carroll

Jennifer Carter

Cheryl Copeland

Katharine Courson

Michele Corbitt

Tina Folsom

Courtney Gooding

Merry Jo Kurrie

Allen Lehmann

Nancy McGee

Cheryl Oliver

Michelle Patten

Carla Penny

Lisa Posas

Jennifer Powell

Sally Turner Querin

Frank Richards

David Rose

Bruce Smith

Roni King Strickland

Al Turner

Mala Vallotton

Steven S. Walker

Nancy DeRuyter Warren

Turner Center

for the Arts Staff

Sementha Mathews

Executive Director

Roy Fricks

Office Administrator

Rebecca Gallagher

Marketing/Public Relations


Jessica Ganas

Office Manager

Taylor Gray & Heather Roberts

Administrative Assistants

Bill Shenton

Artistic Administrator

Harlee Webb

Art Education Administrator

Strategic Planning

Task Force

Cheryl Oliver, Chair

Beverley Blake

Tina Folsom

Nancy McGee

Carla Penny

Sally Turner Querin

Bruce Smith

Mala Vallotton

Steven S. Walker

Nancy DeRuyter Warren

Sementha Mathews, Facilitator


Annette Crosby



TURNERCENTER.ORG | 229.247.2787

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