Highlights follow from the formation and rich history of RFAS. They demonstrate its commitment to cultivate, promote, and engage in the arts.
- Volunteers, primarily NCMA Docents, collaborated with Olivia Raney Library to exhibit the work of Herb Jackson in August, 1964.
- After incorporation as the Raleigh Fine Arts Society in July, 1965, the North Carolina Artists Exhibition was adopted as the first project and was cosponsored by the Wake County Public Library. Four one-artist exhibitions were held annually at Olivia Raney Library.
In 1978, the annual exhibition for Wake County artists was the sole venue for multi-media visual art in the community. The exhibition expanded in 1993 to include artists in the entire Triangle area and, in 1997, to include artists from around the state.
- Art in the Schools, instigated in 1969, took slides of the NCMA American collection into the schools to fifth graders. The program was turned over to the NCMA Education Department after the Junior League of Raleigh expanded the program to third and fourth graders. The program has evolved and expanded. Currently, North Carolina teachers access the museum website for pre-visit presentations.
- Color in Light, begun in 1971, introduced sixth graders to theory of color. Joe Cox, Professor of Design at NCSU, designed machines to demonstrate physics of light and to explain theory of color. The program was donated to WCPSS in 1996.
- RFAS assisted with the restoration of Pullen Park’s historic Denzel Carousel by securing grants and providing many hours of ancillary volunteer services from 1976-1983.
- Raleigh: A Guide to the North Carolina’s Capital, focusing on Raleigh’s architectural and cultural attractions, was published in 1975; the revised and enlarged edition was published in 1992.
- Literary Contest, initiated in 1978, the Literary Contest is open to short story writers in grades 10-12 from every high school in Wake County. The winning entries are judged by professional educators and writers. Winners are given recognition at an awards ceremony each year.
- The Choral Celebration, originated in 1999, promotes high standards of excellence in elementary school choral music. Groups perform in Meymandi Hall in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on two consecutive evenings every spring.
- Additional volunteer opportunities have included Carolina Ballet, Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NCSU, Haywood Hall, Joel Lane House Museum, North Carolina Executive Mansion, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.
- Awards: RFAS twice received the Raleigh Medal of Arts Award: in 1989 for establishing the Literary Contest and in 1995 for the organization’s 30 years of extraordinary achievement in the arts. In 2001, RFAS was the recipient of the Paladin Award from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County as part of their Business Support of the Arts Awards program. In 1998, Martha Zaytoun received the Raleigh Medal of Arts Award for creating the concepts for the Artists Exhibition, the Choral Celebration and the Literary Contest.
In October 2014, the Raleigh Fine Arts Society was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame. This prestigious award began in 2005 to recognize significant and extraordinary contributions by individuals or organizations to the City of Raleigh. RFAS was noted for being a “vibrant part of the cultural fabric of the city through its programs and its members who volunteer throughout the city at local museums and schools. For fifty years the Society has enriched the lives of Raleigh’s citizens through art, music and the written word.”