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Sinclair to Lead Arts Council

Earlier this year, the Council for the Arts of Herndon lost its vice president when he moved out of the area. The vice president has traditionally moved into the presidency of the organization when the sitting president's term was up.

In June, arts council board member Stacey Sinclair was tapped to fill the vice-presidency vacancy and is now in line to became the organization's new leader this January.

"She's not officially voted president yet," said Harlon Reece, the arts council's current president. "But there has been a long tradition that the president serves a couple of years and then the vice president moves into the slot."

Sinclair will be taking over the arts council, when it becomes official, at a time when the organization could be at a crossroads. Reece said the organization will be re-evaluating itself at its board of directors' retreat this Saturday.

"It's time for us to take a look at where we see the organization in the next five to 10 years," Reece said. "We're going to have an expert consultant help with that. I expect to come out of it with a report and recommendations."

Namely, he said, the arts council has to decide to what extent it will be involved with the Town of Herndon's efforts to create an all-encompassing Cultural Arts Center, as well as deciding how best the arts council can fulfill its mission of supporting the arts.

Sinclair, he said, has what it takes to lead the arts council into the future.

"She is one of our most productive volunteers. She is very talented, and she and her husband, Dave, are frequent volunteers, devoted members of the council," Reece said.

SINCLAIR, a 20-year Herndon resident, is a licensed massage therapist and licensed acupuncturist, who has her own business, Alternatives for Health, on Third Street. She describes herself as not being an artist, but rather someone who supports them. She became involved with the arts council after one of her friends asked her to volunteer at an event about four or five years ago.

"I'm interested in the arts. I do 'Art in Public Places,' so I get new art every six weeks," Sinclair said, of the arts council's program that rotates local artists' work in participating businesses. "I just come in, and it's been changed out. My clients notice it. I've had some inquire about buying particular pieces."

In addition, Sinclair and her husband are the house managers for the Elden Street Players. She is active in the Herndon Citizens Police Academy; is a member of the Herndon Optimists, where she is a commissioner for the girls 13-14 basketball league; belongs to the town's Chamber of Commerce; and occasionally works a camera for HCTV.

"If she didn't have such a community-minded husband, she couldn't do it all," said Karen Cobb, executive director of the arts council. "They are so involved. They do everything so well, and everything they are involved in works for the good of all the organizations and for the good of the area."

Reece, a town councilman and active community member as well, is confident that Sinclair can handle the extra duties of being president, in addition to all her other commitments.

"I'm a strong believer in the old adage, 'If you have something that needs to be done, find a busy person to do it,'" Reece said. "Besides, if I can do, she can do it. She's younger than I am."

While the arts council may be charting its future, there are a few things that most likely will not change. Last year, the arts council gave out six scholarships to area students looking to pursue the arts, Sinclair said. In addition, the arts council recently started quarterly receptions, which give artists a chance to display their work and meet new contacts within the community.

"We're always looking for new artists to promote their work," Sinclair said.

Reece also said the most important thing the arts council does is its scholarship and grants program.

IN ADDITION, the arts council has traditionally helped sponsor activities in town or has helped other organizations get their own activities off the ground. Recently, the arts council had to cancel its "Battle of the Bands," which would have featured local students, because of the regional sniper shootings. Cobb said the event will be rescheduled, most likely in the spring.

Next on the arts council's calendar, however, is Herndon Lights Up the Holidays at Worldgate Nov. 23. Cobb said 200 volunteers light up luminaries and hand out cookies. The free event also features interactive signing, puppet shows, sleigh rides and choral groups.

"It's just a really fun night."

The arts council will go caroling in December, will hold its annual meeting Jan. 27 and its yearly Taste of Herndon April 24.

The arts council is also in the process of trying to create a town band and orchestra. The band will perform in the summer and the orchestra during the winter. It is currently looking for space to hold its first rehearsal.

"We've had tremendous interest. We had 30 people respond just from a press release," Cobb said. "I had one lady tell me she was looking forward to performing with her dad. That's what we are trying to do."

As president, Sinclair said it will be her job to keep the arts council focused on its mission, to do fund-raising and to attract new members. She has already started.

"Fifteen, 20 dollars would help a lot, and members get a discount at selected businesses in town," Sinclair said. "And we need volunteers. We always need volunteers."