Are you like me and wonder if it will ever happen?
They are the Southwest Washington Center for the Arts, a group of dedicated and persistent citizens led by Val Ogden pursuing this lofty and seemingly evasive goal.
Their mission is "to facilitate the building of a world class center for the arts to enhance the educational, economic, and cultural vitality for SW Washington, to be centrally located in the city of Vancouver."
And, quite frankly, I'm all for it, but my enthusiasm wanes.
It ain't happenin' babyHow many years (decades) have we been talking about this now? How much money has been raised? Who among our city's council has done little more than wind-bag the idea? As far as I'm concerned, it ain't happenin'. It's just an idea and nothing more.
Oh, I'd like to believe--really I would--but it's hard to remain excited over the long haul when the city officials are a bunch of sticks-in-the-mud and the bulk of our citizens seem to care less.
I mean, we can just go to Portland, right?
I must admit, it is nice to be so close to such a large, cultured city. But then again, it ain't exactly "ours" is it. Wouldn't it be nice to have a home for OUR art?
Sure it would! We nod our heads, drool out of one side of our mouths and...
Maybe it's time we got behind this idea, this effort, and made it a reality! Ya think?
Art enlivens, inspires and enablesBut, is it "a need?" I mean, these are "hard times" and we should invest our resources where they are essential, no?
That depends on how you look at it. Humans can exist without the arts, but that's not a way to live. We are enlivened by the arts and artistic expression. Art is what inspires us and defines us as human beings. And art enables us to more fully express who we are.
Can you get by without music, theater, dance, sculpture, painting, etc.? Yes, you can. Is it pretty? No. Without art in the heart, life...well...sucks. It's like a grey world with a grey cloud over it. You slog through it and achieve so little due to lack of ambition and vitality.
Have you seen the movie Joe Verses the Volcano? (I don't know why I brought that up, I'm sure it's relevant.)
Anyway, people who engage in culture are happier. Vancouver would be a happier place with a civic arts center. Sure, we've got pockets of culture here, but as a city? I've eaten yogurt with a more active culture.
Maybe, just maybe, the dream is attainableI've been guilty. I create art, but I've been happy in my own little pocket. I've nodded my head and enthusiastically drooled along with most of the masses about a Vancouver performing arts center. But I have done little more.
Maybe it's time I spoke up (I just did). Maybe it's time I wrote my city council. Maybe it's time I followed this movement on Facebook (I do) and read their e-newsletter. [It is sad that as of this writing they have only 164 Facebook fans.] Maybe, I should put some money where my mouth is and/or volunteer...
So, what about YOU? Can we, finally, make this happen? In our lifetime? I think maybe, we can.
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the center4thearts webpage.
By Gregory E. Zschomler