‘The Jungle Book’ highlights whirlwind month [UPDATED]Published 5:05am Monday, June 17, 2013 Updated 7:07am Monday, June 17, 2013
The first week of June was a whirlwind for us here at A Center for the Arts! We started with a work day in our space at 115 W. Lincoln Ave on Saturday, June 1.
On Monday, June 3, the theater was full of close to 100 kids for the first rehearsal of our Children’s Theater production of Disney’s The Jungle Book.
On Wednesday and Thursday, June 5 to 6, Michael and I travelled to Morris for the Rural Arts and Culture Summit.
Friday and Saturday, June 7 to 8, we were at Summerfest with our booth and in the parade.
Did I mention that we are undergoing a major theater renovation right now as well? Just another week in the arts for us! Speaking of our theater renovation and seat project, we are looking for volunteers this coming Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help us start putting seats back in. If you are available to help — even for just an hour — we would greatly appreciate it.
Everyone is in for a surprise when they come to the theater for The Jungle Book at the end of June. We have made great progress getting the inside painted and we are ready to start installing seats. It’s going to look great.
As much as there is going on here at the Center and in Fergus Falls in general, I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on the incredible events of the Rural Arts and Culture Summit last week in Morris.
If you haven’t heard, the Rural Arts and Culture Summit celebrated the transformative power of arts-based community development in rural towns.
Made possible by Springboard for the Arts and hosted by the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota-Morris, the event gathered leaders from all over the country and featured a wide variety of presentations, panels, networking opportunities, and hands-on workshops.
This was the second Rural Arts and Culture Summit to be held in West Central Minnesota. The first Summit was held here in Fergus Falls on the M State campus in 2011, and A Center for the Arts played a major role in making it happen.
While the first Summit was an incredible event that brought together over 100 people from around the state and the country, this year’s Summit brought in close to 300 people and was sold out a month before the event started. The theme of this year’s Summit was leveraging arts and culture to build thriving communities.
Both Michael Burgraff, our executive director here at A Center for the Arts, and myself attended the two day event. It was full of inspiring keynotes, invigorating conversations, valuable networking, and hands-on art-making.
There was a lot of discussion about collaborations and unconventional partnerships, as well as the necessity of arts and culture in the economic development of small communities.
We were inundated with success stories of artists and arts organizations all over Minnesota and the country who have made an incredible difference in their rural communities — adding not only to the vibrancy of their area, but acting as leaders in community and economic development.
We have the creativity and ingenuity that is needed to effect real change. If we hope to realize the full potential of our communities, we must work together and start involving arts and culture in every aspect of what we do.
If you want to read more about the Summit, there are tons of blogs and online articles that have been written by people who attended. I encourage you to look into it.
Kristin Fondriest is the executive assistant at A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls.�