A local company has received national recognition for its contribution to the arts.
The nonprofit Business Committee for the Arts has named Sweetwater Sound as one of the BCA Ten: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America.
“Arts are what really bring quality of life to a community,” said Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater. The Fort Wayne company is the fourth-largest retailer of music instruments and music technology in the nation. Most Sweetwater employees are musicians, including Surack, who plays in a band called Prime Time.
The company supports the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as sponsor of the Pops concert series. It supports the Foundation for Art & Music in Elementary Education (FAME), providing money, equipment and volunteers for the organization’s programs, summer camp and annual festival. Sweetwater also co-sponsored the Preservation Hall Jazz Band concert for FAME’s 20th anniversary.
Sweetwaterbuilt a 250-seat auditorium at its new headquarters that can be used by local arts organizations at no cost for concerts and other events.
In March 2008, Sweetwater opened a music school for the community with a 10-member teaching staff, state-of-the-art equipment and a full-time director. Enrollment already has exceeded 100 students.
Sweetwater is in company with some big corporate names in receiving the BCA Ten award, such as H&R Block of Kansas City, Mo., Limited Brands of Columbus, Ohio, and Wachovia of Charlotte, N.C.
But to Surack, it’s just about being a part of the community. “Sweetwater tries to be a good corporate citizen,” he said. “We do have a bent toward arts and performing arts.”
“Obviously, it’s a huge honor,” said Surack, who intends to go to the awards ceremony Oct. 30 in New York City. “We don’t do what we do to get the awards and honors. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”