"A lot of questions. Not many answers." This was the first line in Joe Centers' column of Aug. 28. The column mentioned a local task force formed to discuss the promotion of the arts in the area. Many community theaters are facing financial problems at the present time. The general public is simply not supporting them. One factor could be the type of productions an area theater has recently promoted some "adult fare" which is not to everyone's liking. Theatrical touring companies do not always present the best productions either.
Here's an answer: Start with the schools. Area schools work hard to promote the visual and performing arts. These student events need community and administrative support. When a school is facing financial problems, the arts are the first thing to go. People will go to great lengths to preserve sports programs yet remain silent when the music or art programs are reduced in size or eliminated. The mindset of this area appears to be exclusively on sporting events and for the performing/visual art programs to continue, that attitude will have to change. School administrators need to realize the value of arts in the schools, maintain those programs and find other ways of saving necessary funds.
Noticeably absent on the list of task force contributors was Towne and Country Players an organization which contributed to the Performing Arts in downtown Norwalk for 34 years. Patrons came from Cleveland and Toledo to Norwalk because of the low ticket prices and comparable performance quality. Busloads of people from other Ohio cities attended shows at the former Towne and Country Theatre. Why? They offered a quality production at an excellent price and they promoted the shows. Unfortunately Towne and Country experienced the same problem as other theaters: lack of local support.
If you need an answer: ask the professionals in the area for service, support arts in the schools and purchase tickets for locally sponsored events. The Fine Arts can't be just a photo opportunity for politics they have to be supported, promoted and attended by all.