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Artistic Endeavors: Jonesboro's Growing Appreciation for the Arts
Jun 15, 2012

So … do you like theater? What about the arts in general? If you’re reading this at all, you might say “yes,” but your neighbors are probably not so interested.

We are a football, basketball, baseball loving town. We enjoy scrapbooking, hunting, and if you need a thousand opinions on how to grow tomatoes, we’re the place to be, but the arts? Ask your neighbor about the latest Broadway play or their favorite aspect of the Balanchine technique, and chances are they’ll look at you like you have three eyes. (Although there are, of course, people in this area who can discuss Balanchine technique or even their favorite Degas.) Ask your neighbor about the play that won the game last night, and you’ve got yourself a discussion.

All of that is fine. We have quite a blessed town, but the thing about the arts is that they have more in common with our favorite past times around here than we might realize. Last week, my youngest son’s baseball coach was talking to his players about teamwork, discipline and making good choices. As I listened, I wondered if he had ever studied any art form (probably not), but his words reminded me of a talk I had with my cast not long ago. We’re rehearsing for the most complex production we’ve ever attempted at The FOA – Titanic, the Musical. It will be an excellent success – mainly because the sheer number of volunteer professionals who have chosen to lend their skills to the project. Architects, engineers, farmers, vocal coaches, seamstresses and more have chosen to help out with a production that will provide hundreds of people with a night of beauty and release.

I often wonder if all this work for someone’s one evening is worth it, but working with these people, I know it is. Because it’s just fun, and we share the same values – teamwork, discipline, creativity, focus, appreciation of beauty. Funny, last time many of these folks volunteered, they were coaching baseball.

I feel a stirring in our town. It may be small in percentage now, but it’s growing. It reveals a new appreciation for the arts and how our common values can be lauded. It is an understanding that, while we can love our boys on the diamond, we can also enjoy the latest play downtown.

The next time the cast of Titanic gets together, it won’t be to rehearse – we’ve got our waffle ball game to play in my back yard. See you at the show!

(Note: Titanic, the Musical will be presented June 23-26 at The Forum Theatre. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 935.2726 for more information.)

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