Richard Emmett Takes Blue Ridge Music Center Post
Winston-Salem’s Richard Emmett has made a name for himself as a force in developing the city’s arts scene. Now he’s hoping to have the same effect in a more rural setting.
Richard Emmett has been a club owner and promoter of music and the arts in Winston-Salem for two decades now. For the last six years, he’s had a high-profile position as chief operating officer and vice president for facilities at the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
During his time in the city, he’s become immersed in Americana, with its elements of traditional folk, country and bluegrass music. Now Emmett is following that passion to a new job. He’s been named the program director for the Blue Ridge Music Center. The Center is on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Mount Airy and Galax, Va., in the heart of the regional Americana scene. He says the new job is a chance for him to connect not just with the music but also with the landscape.
"To get out from this wonderful urban environment in Winston for the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway area - the environment - something that I've missed since I moved to Winston from Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park was hard to pass up," he says.
The Blue Ridge Music Center also has an interactive museum that chronicles the history of the music of the region. And yet, many people don’t know about it. Emmett describes the center as “underutilized,” but he’s hoping to change that. To get that job done, he says he’ll look back to his arts council experience.
"Working for the first arts council in the nation was an honor and working under Milton Rhodes and learning from him as a mentor from someone who has been in the arts for so long. The arts council here played such a key role in the makeup of our community and in the vitality and vibrancy of our cultural and artistic offerings," Emmett says.
The Center is run by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, which has offices in Winston-Salem, so Emmett will spend much of the off-season here. He starts his new job March 17.