Monarch’s Beach Club celebrates new arts programming

Ellen Usher, one of the Beach Club’s long-time participants, looks forward to art classes every day. Her favorite part of the program is the time she gets to spend drawing and painting. Her art has even been featured at the Mollie Fearing Memorial Art Show in Manteo. For Usher, and many other participants at the day program, art classes are a big part of why they love attending.

Because of that, Monarch is continuing to expand the Beach Club’s creative arts programming, including visual art, music and dance opportunities, through a generous grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation and the Pauline Wright Endowment for Dare County. The endowment supports educational, cultural, social and development programs for individuals in Dare County with Down syndrome and/or other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to expand our arts activities at Beach Club,” says Erma Brault, operations director for Monarch. “The support of the Outer Banks Community Foundation and our partnership with the Dare County Arts Council are so important to this program.”

The grant will help fund supplies and equipment for the Beach Club’s art instruction room, as the program begins to host guest instructors from the community to teach art, music and dance throughout the year.

Local volunteers and artists like Chris Sawin, executive director of the Dare County Arts Council, will also be able to continue already established classes with participants. He and several Beach Club participants recently created an original piece of music using an iPad application called “The Beach Club Boogie.”

At the Beach Club, visual art instruction and activities are a large part of many of the participants’ personal interests. This grant will provide a truly creative space that can be used by all program participants as they achieve their goals of learning new skills, engaging in creative expression and interacting in new and productive initiatives throughout the Dare County community.

Established in 1958, Monarch is a not-for-profit organization that provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse challenges. The agency is nationally accredited by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and certified by The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA). Monarch operates The Arc of Stanly County, which is a chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States. To learn more about how Monarch provides support, please call (866) 272-7826 or visit