Two area organizations recognized for arts partnership surrounding
International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass.

Raleigh, NC (July 25, 2014) -- The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) along with the United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County are recipients of the 2014 Arts Destination Marketing Award presented by the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and Americans for the Arts in the $3 million budget or greater category. This award recognizes destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and their local arts organizations for working together to effectively and innovatively use the arts to market the community as a travel destination. The award was presented at the DMAI Annual Convention held this week in Las Vegas.

The GRCVB and the United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County were recipients of the award based on the implementation of an arts activation program surrounding the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) 2013 World of Bluegrass Week in Raleigh. The program was chaired by Eleanor Oakley, president and CEO of the United Arts Council, and facilitated by members of the Arts Activation sub-committee, a part of the 40 person IBMA Local Organizing Committee. This sub-committee was charged with creating awareness of bluegrass and heritage music while developing pride in North Carolina's bluegrass heritage ultimately letting residents and visitors know that "bluegrass matters here."

"We were delighted to work with GRCVB staff, City of Raleigh, members of the Local Organizing Committee, IBMA, the Wake County Board of Commissioners, and the Wake County Public School System to develop and implement programs which introduced bluegrass and heritage music to residents, visitors and students," said Eleanor Oakley, president and CEO of the United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County.

The components of the arts activation program were all encompassing and involved strategically working with Wake County's 12 municipalities, along with area arts nonprofit organizations and Wake County Public Schools to program ancillary events leading up to and during IBMA's World of Bluegrass Week. Some of the event highlights from the program included:

• The creation of an 11-member speakers bureau of local musicians who spoke at area bookstores, libraries, galleries and schools on topics ranging from the history of bluegrass, how and why it developed to why this genre of music has significant and important roots in North Carolina.

• Local presenting arts organizations developed unique programming relating to bluegrass music like Bare Theatre along with Raleigh Little Theatre which reimagined William Shakespeare's As You Like It into bluegrass musical theatre.

• Cities and towns throughout Wake County scheduled bluegrass musicians to perform at community-wide celebrations and festivals, and RDU International Airport gave arriving passengers bluegrass entertainment while waiting at baggage claim.

• North Carolina Museum of History and City of Raleigh Museum produced bluegrass and heritage music-themed exhibitions.

• Facilitated the Artists in Schools program which placed bluegrass bands into 14 Wake County elementary and middle schools during and after World of Bluegrass Week. This outreach effort in collaboration with the Wake County Public School System gave approximately 3,000 school children the opportunity to hear a bluegrass performance, learn about bluegrass instruments or participate in a master class available to strings students.

• Distribution of IBMA's instructional DVD for teachers with lesson plans built around the bluegrass tradition and instruments.

"This is a clear testament of how strong partnerships with area arts organizations can help further our destination message and brand as an emerging hub for arts and culture in the Southeast," said Denny Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau.
IBMA's 2013 World of Bluegrass Week included: the four-day IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, Bluegrass Ramble, the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass Street Fest which partnered with the N.C. Whole Hog Barbecue State Championships and concerts at the Red Hat Amphitheater. Combined, these events brought approximately 84,000 visitors from outside of Wake County to the area, generating approximately 20,000 hotel room-nights. Total attendance figures, including both local and out-of-town attendees, for the entire week's festivities was estimated to be 154,000. The event generated an estimated $10 million in direct visitor spending for Raleigh and Wake County.

The work of the IBMA Local Organizing Committee continues in planning and producing the 2014 World of Bluegrass Week which is slated for Sept. 30 - Oct. 4.

The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, as the official destination marketing organization of Raleigh and Wake County, accelerates sustainable economic growth and development by increasing visitor and convention business.

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County is designated by the Wake County Commissioners and the North Carolina Arts Council as the official local arts agency for Wake County. United Arts is supported in part by the North Carolina Arts Council-a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) protects and advances the success of destination marketing worldwide. DMAI's influential membership includes nearly 600 destination marketing organizations (DMOs), from 16 countries, which command US $2.5+ billion in annual budgets. As the world's largest and most reliable resource for DMOs, DMAI provides nearly 4,000 individual members - professionals, industry partners, educators and students - the most innovative and relevant educational resources, networking opportunities and marketing intelligence worldwide.