Setting up the Alamance Arts Council’s annual Christmas exhibition hasn’t left the council’s director, Cary Worthy, much time to reflect on his final holiday season at the helm.
The planning, constructing, decorating, and going back and forth from the council’s stately home, the Captain White House on South Main Street in Graham, seem to have left him a little weary, but proud of the work that he and myriad others put in prior to the exhibition’s November 21 kick-off.
That’s what he says he’ll miss, the creativity and people, when he retires at the end of this year.
“You work with all these volunteers, and it becomes like a family,” Worthy, 65, told The Alamance News last week.
One of his proverbial family members, council member Karen Carrouth, credits him with building strong relationships between the council and community. Some of those connections have included transforming venues for special events held by the Mebane Arts and Community Center, county chamber of commerce, and hospice.
“He has a wonderful reputation in the community as a leader,” she told the newspaper. “He’s a very humble man. He’s not about any attention for himself.”
The leader of the arts council for 24 years, Worthy, says he “just fell into” his decades-long career in the arts, having come to Graham with 17 years of experience leading other arts councils along the state’s coast.
When the Kansas native graduated with degrees in business administration and teaching in speech, drama, and psychology, he considered a teaching position in his home state, but ultimately moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, where a position in his area of study wasn’t available.
It was at the close of a year traveling with the Touring Children’s Company, three months of which were spent in North Carolina, that the theater company’s director told him that the Tar Heel state would be a prime place for starting a career in the arts.
Worthy went first to the Lower Cape Fear arts council, where he quickly climbed from business administrator to director. After six-and-a-half years, he moved on to the council in New Bern, staying for 11 years before making his way to Graham with husband Willard Doxey.
“I’m not much of a mover,” Worthy says. “I’m more of a roots person.”
The couple have since put down roots in Alamance County for over two decades, and plan to stay after Worthy’s retirement.
As for what he’ll do after the council, apart from helping Doxey with his work, the outgoing director said with a laugh, “I don’t know. I’ve done this all my adult life, so I’m really trying to figure it out.”