Cary, NC – The Town of Cary selected William Lewis, executive director of the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc. or PineCone, to take over as the town’s cultural arts manager, replacing Lyman Collins who is retiring after 20 years.
New Cultural Arts Director
Lewis will start his role as cultural arts manager at the start of August, overseeing events, public art, programming at various town facilities and more.
As PineCone’s executive director, Lewis said he worked with the Town of Cary for around a decade, with live bluegrass and folk music concerts at Sertoma Amphitheatre at Bond Park, bluegrass music camps at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, among other events.
“I have a focus on the music and dance traditions in the Piedmont, which is 49 counties,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to tell the story of cultural arts traditions of the region, of which Cary is included.”
Lewis said he considers it a testament to Collins’ leadership that PineCone was about to contribute as much as it was to Cary over the past years and as cultural arts manager, Lewis said he wants to make sure events continue to connect audiences to the culture they are observing.
“I view all art through a cultural lens. I don’t want performance for performance’s sake. I want to have a direct connection to the people and the place,” Lewis said.
As Cary’s cultural arts manager, Lewis said the advantage of this role will be to speak more directly to a specific geographic area and share the local cultural resources here.
But Cary does not only run cultural programs related to the Piedmont region, as it runs events celebrating Indian, Chinese, Irish, Turkish, German, Latino and West African heritages, and many more. Lewis said his view of running educational cultural arts events fits into this.
“People have come here from all over, including me. I’m originally from Georgia,” he said. “Culture is very fluid. It’s not static, it’s not about history. It’s about what it is right now.”
With a community made up of people from so many different backgrounds, Lewis said this is an opportunity to do a lot of new and creative work.
“We have some people who are legacies here, born and raised, and we have some people who moved here. How do we celebrate them both?” he said. “And if a group feels they are not properly represented, there’s an opportunity there.”
As he takes on the new role starting August 1, Lewis said these are the exact conversations he wants to start having.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc.