Friday, February 16, 2007

Help save the nexStage

Apologies for the tardiness of this message; it's particularly egregious when one considers that it deals with nothing less than saving, preserving, and expanding the cultural resource most uniquely important to our community. For years now, I have been hearing new proposals around the valley regarding varied incarnations of new performing arts centers, many at an enormous price to be paid in giving up visual open space or costing many millions of dollars in expenses. And over the years nothing has happened to realize these pie-in-the-sky proposals other than the generation of still more proposals, at ever increasing costs.

It may shock many to learn that the pie-in-the-sky facility is already here. For months now, the nexStage Theater has been in the midst of a fund-raising campaign to purchase the building and land it sits upon so that we will continue to have a community theater in perpetuity for the entire Wood River Valley. It is high time that we all fully acknowledge the truth of the adage: "Once it's gone, you can't bring it back."

Yes, as it presently stands, the nexStage Theater is not the most commodious space nor is it likely to win theater or architectural awards. But, as a functional property, it is constantly in use for theater, ballet, visiting performances varying from dance to puppetry, poetry readings, receptions that cut across all socio-economic lines, antique shows, community meetings, and film festivals, among many other uses. It is totally nonprofit in the truest sense; it is open and available to everyone; and for a total cost of only $2.5 million dollars (much of which has already been pledged or raised), we will have a very much improved facility which will belong to all of us forever. If you, your friends, or your family have ever utilized any of the nexStage programs—or if you are a "part-timer" who wants to donate to (in my humble opinion) the most egalitarian cause around—or if you are someone who directly benefits from the high artistic/cultural level of this community (banker, real estate or mortgage broker, title insurance professional, retail sales of all types, restaurants, property management), I encourage you to give generously to this most worthwhile year-round community resource.

Drop by the nexStage Theater today and ask how you can help. Don't put it off another day.

Gary Hoffman


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