Monarch Celebrates Opening of Its Arts & Community Center in Southern Pines
More than 100 people from Moore County and the surrounding communities attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and event held June 27 to celebrate the opening of the Monarch Creative Arts and Community Center (MCACC). The Moore County Chamber of Commerce facilitated the symbolic ribbon cutting.
The 12,000 sq. ft. center located at 1662 Richards Street in Southern Pines provides a new venue for Monarch’s day program, which supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and offers various cultural activities. The space includes a pottery studio and kiln, art and dance studios, fitness space, full kitchen and a conference and meeting room. The center also contains a gift shop open to the public that sells decorative wreaths, gift baskets and unique seasonal items, which are often made by the people supported.
Monarch officials said the center is quickly becoming a community hub. Longtime partners from Aberdeen, Carthage, Southern Pines, Pinehurst, the Arc of Moore County, Sandhills Community College and others are essential to the center’s progress and success, explained Dr. Peggy Terhune, Monarch’s chief executive officer.
"This center was a dream we had,” Dr. Peggy Terhune said during the ceremony. “Monarch, along with our families, wanted to create a place where folks could spend their days doing something meaningful. Our goal was to foster an environment where they could learn, explore and develop new skills through various opportunities. This is a dream come true for so many.”
During yesterday’s event, Terhune also announced that Bill Russell, who owns the MCACC property, has pledged to create a community garden at the art center to further Monarch’s efforts to create community engagement and involvement.
Local artists, community college faculty, volunteers and staff work with people who attend the program to demonstrate and enhance their creativity through dance and drama, pottery and jewelry making, painting, cooking, gardening and other engaging activities.
Two local artists have been retained to offer instruction at the center. Terry Hardison Dalton, a 25-year teaching veteran and art educator who recently retired from Moore County Schools, will lead art workshops. Ellerbe resident Diana Turner-Forte, an author, professional dancer and choreographer for more than four decades, will teach dance instruction and movement. Turner-Forte will also offer community courses in the center’s beautiful new well-equipped dance studio, which honors Russell Zumwalt, of Moore County, who attends the day program at Monarch.
The Russell Zumwalt Performing Arts Studio was made possible by contributions from friends and family of Zumwalt to honor his love of music and dance. Zumwalt, who was surrounded by loved ones during the event, beamed when he saw the plaque that bears his name.
Local parents and families said they are extremely excited about the new opportunities the MCACC provides for their loved ones. Nancy McNiff, a member of the Family Advisory Committee whose sister Betsy Brouwers is supported by Monarch, believes the unique initiative already has been impactful.
“It is a relief to finally have everyone in a beautiful new center that was built specifically to meet the needs of the people supported,” said McNiff. “It’s already evident the facility provides enjoyment to those who attend because it offers such variety. It is a delight and Betsy is enthusiastic about attending.”
Monarch is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership and is CABHA certified. An affiliate chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States, Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges. To learn more about how Monarch is “Helping Dreams Take Flight” for people living in our communities, please call (800) 230-7525.
To view more images from the event, click here to visit Monarch’s Facebook page.