The Orange County Cultural Center was formed in 2008, following a community meeting in late 2007, hosted by the Town of Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Arts Council, which assessed Hillsborough’s arts and cultural resources, and determined that northern Orange County was in need of affordable, accessible space for arts and cultural programming.

A steering committee, originally called the Cultural Center Committee, began meeting monthly to discuss options for creating a free-standing cultural arts center in downtown Hillsborough. Representatives from the Orange Community Players, the Hillsborough Arts Council, the Historic Hillsborough Commission (the Burwell School), the Historical Foundation of Hillsborough and Orange County (the Orange County Historical Museum), the Chapel Hill Orange County Visitor’s Bureau, the Orange County Artist Guild, the Music Maker Relief Foundation, the Orange County Arts Commission, the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, and the Orange County School System were all part of the original group, and have continued to be involved in the OCCC for the past seven years.

Since those beginnings, the OCCC has been able to move beyond the steering committee to form its own 501c3 nonprofit organization with a fully functioning volunteer board; secure office space in downtown Hillsborough; obtain a Charitable Solicitation License; formulate a strategic business plan; secure a grant from the Hillsborough Tourism Board which allowed the OCCC to mount a “challenge campaign” and fundraise; collaborate with its partner organizations to put on arts-related programming; hire an Executive Director; and, most importantly, help to bring the Town of Hillsborough, Orange County, and the arts community together with a common goal of creating space in northern Orange County for performances; arts education and exhibitions; and historical, literary, dramatic and other cultural educational or enrichment endeavors.

When the Orange County Cultural Center first identified the historic Whitted Building as an ideal place for a cultural center, the Hillsborough Town Board and the Board of County Commissioners were having difficulty working together to find a path towards creating such a space. There were issues about parking, access, and who would be in charge of the space. The OCCC worked diligently to create a community conversation about the need for a cultural center, and through many meetings with Town and County officials, enabled them to move forward in partnership to begin to see the Whitted Building as the vital cultural resource that it could be.

The Orange County Cultural Center is very pleased that the Board of County Commissioners voted on May 7th, 2013, to support the Whitted Building as a potential space for nonprofit organizations, both arts-related and otherwise, to utilize when the building is not in use by County or Town governments. While the OCCC is disappointed that the BOCC did not support having a value-added entity in charge of overseeing nongovernmental uses in the Whitted Building, the OCCC still feels that it has accomplished its goal of bringing County and Town leaders together to recognize the need for space for the cultural arts in Hillsborough/northern Orange County. The OCCC truly hopes that the BOCC will follow through on its pledge to make the Whitted Building available for the arts community, as well as other nonprofits.

The Orange County Cultural Center is very grateful to those who have worked so hard on this dream and who have supported the OCCC in its efforts. While it has proven impossible for the OCCC to implement its original proposal to manage nongovernmental activities in the Whitted Building, the OCCC continues to be committed to supporting the arts throughout Orange County. Executive Director Elizabeth Waugh-Duford will be finishing out her contract at the end of July, but the Orange County Cultural Center will continue as an all-volunteer committee that hopes to support programming and provide outreach in partnership with other arts and cultural groups in Orange County. A primary focus will be looking for another space in northern Orange County that can accommodate a fully functional, free-standing cultural center.

The OCCC will be on hiatus during the summer. Please look for updates here and on our Facebook page.

 

The Orange County Cultural Center Steering Committee

Margo Pinkerton

Callie Connor

Pat Revels

Vicky Wilson

Elizabeth Waugh-Duford, Executive Director

 

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Article in Chapelboro about the Town Hall Meeting on 4/4

April 16, 2013

http://chapelboro.com/pages/15973956.php

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Article from The News of Orange on 4/4 Town Hall Meeting

April 16, 2013

http://www.aconews.com/news/local/article_6505f7a8-a20a-11e2-a9b5-001a4bcf887a.html

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We have a new office!

April 3, 2013

The OCCC has moved its administrative office to 118 N. Churton Street in Hillsborough. We are in the historic Alexander Graham Building, built in 1930, next to Radius Pizzeria & Pub. We are sharing the space with Comma LLC and TS Financial. Please stop by and visit when you are out and about in downtown […]

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An Update from the OCCC

April 1, 2013

Dear Friends: We are writing for two reasons: first, to thank you for your previous support of the Orange County Cultural Center (OCCC); without your generosity and commitment to building a cultural center in northern Orange County, we would not be where we are today. Second, we want to give you an exciting update on […]

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Why the arts matter to the economy…

November 26, 2012

The Arts Economy Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs is a decades-long project on artists, their livelihoods, the organizations that nurture and present their artwork, and contributions, along with arts organizations and cultural industries, to regional and local economies. This is a very good series of publications on why the cultural […]

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The OCCC Supports the Orange County Transit Tax…and So Should You

October 31, 2012

We, the Orange County Cultural Center (OCCC), support the referendum on the November 2012 ballot in Orange County to create a half-cent sales tax that will fund expanded transit alternatives. Public investment in expanded rural and county bus service, construction of light rail, and a train station in Hillsborough will create jobs and spur economic […]

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A Cultural Center for Orange County

September 26, 2012

Check out this blog post I wrote for OrangePolitics about the need for a cultural center in northern/central Orange County…and then come out to our joint Happy Hour event at Mystery Brewing Company on Thursday night! http://orangepolitics.org/2012/09/a-cultural-center-for-orange

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The final film in our Summer Noir Series is coming up!

September 5, 2012

The Orange County Cultural Center and the Hillsborough Arts Council’s Summer Noir Film Series will show its final film on Sunday, September 16th at The Depot , 246 South Nash Street in Hillsborough, from 5-7 PM. The final film in the series, “Detour”, directed by Edward G. Ulmer and shot on a shoestring budget in […]

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