About SBPC: Mission and Leadership

Our Mission

  • To foster an interest in the visual arts through our programs, demonstrations, exhibitions and community involvement.
  • To provide opportunities for member artists to improve skills and to display and market their artwork.
  • To help make art a part of the lives of the adults and children in our community. 

The Sanford Brush & Palette Club (SBPC) was founded in 1964 with seven members, and we’ve grown to a membership of more than one-hundred diverse, talented artists. The SBPC celebrates its 59th anniversary in 2023, and the values of the founding members, who believed that fellowship and education were important to artistic growth, continue to be a theme in the current organization.  

What will you CREATE this year?
Who will you CREATE it with?
What will your art CONTRIBUTION be to yourself, the community, the club and your fellow art colleagues?
What will INSPIRE your art ideas, your art contributions and your artwork?

Join us as we answer these questions by participating in art workshops, attending club meetings, and participating in the annual art show and other art social events throughout the year. 2023 is the year for new beginnings, new ideas and growth for the Sanford Brush and Palette Club. – Karen Rushatz, 2023 SBPC President

In 1988, the SBPC became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and expanded its role to support visual arts education in our community. First by awarding scholarships to graduating Lee County high school seniors each year and then by establishing the “Art Angels for Budding Artists (AABA)” program. The AABA provides supplies and/or services to support projects and activities that help provide a quality visual arts experience for students in the Lee County school system. Since its inception in 2010, the AABA has assisted over 6,000 students to express themselves creatively and to learn more about the world around them through art. 

Our History…

Elsie Jordan

It all started when Elsie Jordan and her husband, Walter, moved to Sanford in the early 1960’s. Lonely in a new town, Elsie, to whom painting was a way of life, began inviting a few friends into her kitchen to paint and critique each other’s artwork. She met every other week with Dorothy Peckham, Margaret Gross and Myrtice Locke.  Margaret invited Ruth Ellen Palmer to join and together with Anna Baldwin and Mildred Choplin, the core group was formed. Soon the impromptu club, which met only to paint for the love of it, outgrew the kitchen and had to find new places to meet. 

What began as a kind of casual workshop quickly evolved into a more formal organization as membership grew and Elsie began to teach art classes at Central Carolina Technical Institute. Now 19 members strong, the Sanford Brush & Palette Club made plans for its first Art Show. Held in November 1965, the 2-day showing attracted over 200 visitors. Elsie told reporters that the exhibit was educational in nature and that the club hoped to make it an annual event. Elsie passed away in 1976 but in that short time, she created a fellowship of artists and stimulated a tremendous interest in art in the Sanford community that lives on today.

Karen Rushatz, 2023 SBPC President

2023 SBPC Leadership

The Board of the Sanford Brush & Palette Club (SBPC) has overall responsibility for the management of the club including determining strategy; overseeing all matters of governance and finance; and ensuring that programs and activities are conducted in accordance with the club’s mission, purpose and bylaws.  

Karen Rushatz: President
Karen Tatum: Interim Vice President, Art Angels, Historian
Crystal Champaigne: Secretary
Leonard Ruemker: Treasurer

Maria Gonzalez Alvarez-Bacon
Beth Bale
Wendy Bryant: Scholarships
Kay Grewal
Barbara Miller: Membership
Stan Piestrak
Heath Buckmaster: Board Advisor (non-voting)

ARTSTOBER – Karen Tatum, Kay Grewal, Karen Rushatz, Maria Gonzalez Alvarez-Bacon, Wendy Bryant, Heath Buckmaster
Community Ambassador – Gael Hogan
Artspace Gallery – Beth Bale and Karen Tatum
Temple Theatre Gallery – Reggie Carde
Workshops – Mary Ruemker, Beth Bale, Heath Buckmaster

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony April 26, 2023

Speaker 1: Susan Gomez (Sanford Area Growth Alliance)

Speaker 2: Dr. Gael Hogan (SBPC Ambassador)

Followed by the official cutting.