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WCU Stories

Denise Drury Homewood, executive director of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, an I Love WCU Story

Denise Druy-Homewood


Denise Drury Homewood, executive director of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, is a big fan of Venn Diagrams.

 “Art takes a venue or vehicle, a place online or a physical space to disseminate it. It also takes the artists and performers to make it,” Drury Homewood said. “Plus, it takes the audience to receive that information. At the heart of that Venn Diagram, you will find art and the Bardo Arts Center. It is our job to put all those pieces together.”

Drury Homewood’s guiding priority is connecting the WCU community with art experiences, whether that’s connecting audiences with art experiences, or student practitioners with professional experiences in the arts.

Drury Homewood said that community is greater than the individual, and that WCU is an energetic community. “Philanthropy in the arts feels like what I miss so much from being in a room with other people practicing yoga, that collective energy of all of our giving. It’s really cool to know that together, big or small, we can have a significant impact on the lives of our entire community.

I Love WCU month is bold and ambitious. I love the idea of giving back symbolically, even if it’s not a huge payroll deduction. I believe in the possibilities of investing in your values.”

George Brown, the dean of the David Orr Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts, reminds his team often that a budget is a moral document.

Drury Homewood gives to WCU and other organizations where her investment will make a difference, to grow and share the values that she believes in. She stated that by giving to WCU, her donation will be matched not only by the financial resources that others have given, but also through the folks carrying out the work.

“I know that by giving to WCU, my dollar grows exponentially,” she said. “Giving has a multiplier effect here.” Drury Homewood has given to various funds across campus, including programs within the Bardo Arts Center. “Sure, faculty and staff like to give to their own programs and though that might seem self-serving, I think we give because we believe in our programs. We want to see them succeed in their outcomes.”

Denise Drury Homewood


Giving is personal and she acknowledges the challenges of a global pandemic which might complicate the decision to make a financial gift during I Love WCU month. However, Drury Homewood said that giving during I Love WCU month can directly impact your own professional development.

“If you believe in the work you do here, I feel like you should donate to further contribute to the program’s goals and in turn, to your own career and professional goals working here,” she said.

Drury Homewood has been recently thinking about the ways becoming a parent has influenced the way she sees her work at WCU. She said sees her three-year-old daughter in the students.

“I see her potential, and in turn the potential of our students, and opportunities that I can work to provide,” she said. “They make me want to do even better at my job, and this mission is advanced through philanthropy and collective giving.”

In these challenging times, Drury Homewood stays focused on making sure our students and community have access to the arts. COVID-19 hasn’t stopped her work, it’s just changed the way the Bardo Arts Center does business. Drury Homewood said she wants to ensure that everyone has access to venues to experience and present their work.

Personally, and professionally, Drury Homewood is making sure everything counts as she moves into 2021 with intention. “I want to spend quality time with my daughter and my husband. I’m not sweating the small stuff,” she said.

This carries over into her job, where she is choosing to be very intentional about the way they do their work. “How do we make sure our students get the most out of this experience? How do we make sure that they soak up every single drop of goodness, from working in behind the scenes production to being an audience member?” she said.

Drury Homewood and her team are focusing on doing what they do best and making sure our students are not just engaged, but embedded in the arts as much as possible. “Of course, it’s hard to do during COVID, but we’re trying our best,” she said. “Post-COVID, we will continue to ensure our students and community get the most out of every arts experience.”

Drury Homewood is grateful for the support of a great team during these truly unprecedented times, as well as for the community at WCU in so many respects, including the fact that WCU is truly putting the health, safety, and well-being of everyone first. “Additionally, if BAC was a standalone arts institution, it would be impossible to do the work on our own. With the support of the university and everyone’s collegiality and willingness to work across departments, it exponentially maximizes our impact.”

I Love WCU Month and the Shetland Society

Sheltland Society


Recognizing WCU Faculty and Staff donors at all levels, the Shetland Society celebrates the employees who work hard for WCU and the University’s role to support our student body and the greater community.

You can join Denise Drury Homewood and other faculty and staff donors in the 2020-2021 Shetland Society by visiting

We hope you'll join us for the Faculty and Staff breakfast drive-through as a part of I Love WCU Month on Wednesday, February 24 from 8am – 10:30am in the Big Cat Lot.

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