Randy Eaddy, CEO of the Arts Council, inspires audience to touch ‘every corner’

Randy Eaddy, President and CEO of The Arts Council, speaks during the Kwanzaa event at Delta Arts Center on Dec. 27

Randy Eaddy, CEO of the Arts Council, inspires audience to touch ‘every corner’
January 03
00:30 2019

The second principle of Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia, hosted by the Delta Arts Center

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

The Delta Arts Center on New Walkertown Road was the location of the second night of Kwanzaa, Thursday, Dec. 27, celebrating the principle of Kujichagulia or Self-Determination. Before the evening began, attendees viewed the current exhibit, “Raw Edges 2: Textile Art by African-American Quilters,” featuring the artistry of quilt-making, from baby blankets to large wall hangings. Also on display were historical photographs by The Winston-Salem African-American Society.

Felicia Piggot-Long handed out various musical instruments to attendees to join in the traditional parade and call and response before lighting the black and red candles in the Kinara.

Judge Denise Hartsfield introduced the guest speaker and honoree, Randy Eaddy, the president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. She noted that Eaddy graduated from Furman University and received his law degree from Harvard University. He joined the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton in Atlanta, which eventually brought him to Winston-Salem. After retirement, he joined the Arts Council as president and CEO.

Eaddy confessed that this was his first Kwanzaa and that he had to read up on it before preparing his remarks, as well as consulting Dara Silver, his vice president of grant programs and partner relations, for advice. His self-effacing humor hit it off with the audience and elicited laughter when he remarked that as an attorney, “I have a lot of experience talking at great length about something I don’t know nothing about.”

Eaddy then went on to speak about his growing up in a small town in South Carolina where his parents were sharecroppers who pushed their children to excel. He graduated high school at the age of 16 and entered Furman University at the age of 17.

Eaddy said that “self-determination is radical, fundamental and universal, and speaks to many communities, as well as the black community.” He said that self-determination also speaks to us as individuals. He related stories of his parents and their influence in his life, mentioning his father talking about “educated fools” and that for success, you need to “touch every corner.” He said that ­­ phrase has become the cornerstone of his life and the mantra for the Arts Council.

Eaddy talked about a song by Teddy Pendergrass that has stuck in his head, “Wake Up Everybody.” He said he “couldn’t sing like Obama, so I won’t sing the song,” but recited some of the words. In part, the song goes, “The world won’t get no better if we just let it be.” He emphasized the importance of self-determination and working together to make the world and our community a better place.

Expanding the reach of the Arts Council so that it “touches every corner” and elevates every community is his goal for the future.

After his presentation, Eaddy was presented a plaque honoring him for his accomplishments.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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