“CAMO is a new program designed to fill a vital need in our community,” says Deborah Martin Mintz, Executive Director of the Arts Council. “It promotes arts programs for healing purposes and also for positive expression. CAMO serves Active-Duty Servicemembers, Retirees, Veterans, Guard and Reservists, family members – in short, all our wonderful residents with a military affiliation.”
The Arts Council matched a grant of $15,000 from the North Carolina Arts Council to fund the project, enabling the search to begin for CAMO’s first Program Officer. After an extensive process, Tony Buzzella was chosen. He began the contract position in January.
“We’re working to bridge the gap between cultural organizations and those who are military-affiliated,” says Buzzella. “Many of the arts and cultural groups offer programs geared to the military and their families, but the challenge is to get out that information, so everyone knows what’s available.”
The work begins with the development of a database of cultural arts services and opportunities on Fort Bragg and throughout Cumberland County. The goal is to post the resources at theartscouncil.com and in printed materials, and also share through multiple venues and at events.
Buzzella, who resides in Fayetteville, served at duty stations in Japan, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and at Fort Bragg. He earned the Combat Action Badge from deployment in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005, and the Humanitarian Service Medal in 2012 for helping those displaced by the Sendai earthquake and tsunami in Japan. His musical honors cover achievements in percussion for myriad Army groups, including the Army Ground Forces and 82nd Airborne Division Bands, among others.
Deborah Martin Mintz says the idea for CAMO grew out of a 2018 conference that she attended in Jacksonville, N.C., with Margo Jarvis, Research/Analysis and Special Projects Director for the Arts Council. Following the conference, they convened a Board- driven committee and advisors from both cultural arts and military organizations to help design a program and position that is needed to fill a gap in our community.
“We view the Creative Arts and Military Outreach program as a chance to make a bigger difference in our community,” Mintz says. “The Arts Council made a commitment, then applied and received the full funding from the North Carolina Arts Council. All our cultural organizations will be able to utilize the CAMO Program Officer for their programs. It’s about building bridges and opening doors.”
If your organization currently offers cultural arts services for the military-connected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
ABOUT THE ARTS COUNCIL
The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County was founded in 1973. As a link between artists, arts and cultural organizations and the community, the nonprofit agency administers programs in partnership with a variety of local agencies to stimulate community development through the arts. The Arts Council supports individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development and lifelong learning through the arts.
The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.