by Jeanne Lesinski

Arts councils throughout the U.S. make up the backbone of many community efforts to provide arts and entertainment that might not otherwise be available. Bay County is no exception, with the Bay Arts Council promoting the arts in Bay County since 1978. Anyone who has ever been to a concert or other event at Wenonah Park in Bay City has benefited from the work of the BAC, which manages the park for the city.

After a search of some months, the BAC Board has announced a new director to head operations: Matthew Reid.

When asked about his plans for the BAC, Reid said he'd like to "improve upon what the BAC already does well." BAC is supported in part by the Michigan Council for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, organizations that have weathered drastic budget cuts in recent years. For this reason, Reid will make increasing local support through financial resources from businesses and individual donors one of his top priorities. "I also plan to streamline the organization by cutting costs, thus putting more funds back into showcasing the arts," says Reid, who has 9 years of business experience as a regional retail manager.

Another priority for Reid will be to increase volunteer involvement, from newcomers to returning help. Reid says he would like to "bring people back to the BAC who may have not been involved in awhile."

Reid's enthusiasm for the arts and the people who create has flourished through teaching and volunteering. Reid earned a degree in English, communications, and theater — as well as a teaching license — from Saginaw Valley State University. Since 2001, he has taught a wide variety of courses in English and related disciplines, including drama, TV production and fine arts appreciation, as a teacher in the Bay City Public School system. Last fall he won a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, a prestigious award for teaching excellence, and this year earned the Michigan Alternative Teacher of the Year Award. Reid will be able to mesh his teaching and directorial responsibilities, as the majority of BAC activities take place during the summer months.

The BAC welcomes Persuasion to the Wenonah Park shell on Wednesday. For more information on this concert, see Events, and about the BAC visit

© Jeanne Lesinski, 2010.