Bernadette Carroll loves showing vistors around the West Valley Arts Gallery in Surprise.

"Art can appeal to different people for different reasons," said Carroll. "What I might like, might not be what you like, but it opens doors to conversations and it just peaks your curriosity."


Fourteen years ago, Carroll had a vision to bring more art education programs, more exhibits and more culture to the West Valley.

And her hard work is paying off.

The executive director of the West Valley Arts Council has been instrumental in expanding art, music and dance, especially to kids in the classroom.

"It invigorates them and excites them, and opens their eyes to whole other cultures and experiences," said Carroll. "Our job to work with every city and every school district, if we can to increase more opportunities."

But the road to expanding arts in the West Valley hasn't been easy.

The non-profit relies on donations and volunteers to keep going.

Volunteer Merrill Edelstein has seen first-hand all the time, energy and money Carroll has spent to keep West Valley Arts up and running.

Edelstein reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Carroll and give her $500.

"Every dollar helps here," said Edelstein. "From buying pens to pencils to art paper and having people that support the events that we do."

A news camera was rolling when Edelstein showed up for the big surprise.

"I reached out to CBS 5 to their Pay It Forward program because you're an amazing person, and things you have done for us are just incredible," said Edelstein. "Bringing arts to the West Valley, you work harder than any human being I've ever met. On behalf of myself and Channel 5, I want to Pay It Forward to you with $500."

"She has dedicated her life to bringing art to the community," said Edelstein.

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