‘Focus on the Arts’ shows unity


They represented different cultural influences in Springfield and its surrounding areas. But the theme of Friday’s “Focus on the Arts” luncheon at the downtown Courtyard Marriott, sponsored by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, was one of unity.

Representatives from several of Springfield’s leading arts organizations gathered to talk about the present and future of arts in the area.

Among the panelists were: Larry Coressel, President of Springfield Stageworks; Ann Forescue, Executive Director of the Springfield Museum of Art; Tim Rowe, Managing Artistic Director of the Springfield Arts Council; Kevin Rose, historian for the Turner Foundation who also represented Hartman Rock Garden and Westcott Center for Architecture and Design; Stu Secttor, Executive Director of the Clark State Performing Arts Center; Marta Wojcik, Executive Director and Curator of Westcott House; and Robyn Zimmann, Executive Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Together, the panelists’ organizations had combined budgets of over $4.5 million per year, according to Mike McDorman, chamber of commerce president and CEO who gave opening and closing remarks.

The discussion was moderated by Ted Vander Roest, executive director for Springfield Foundation.

Looking at the signature events for these organization leaves an impression of a rich arts heritage. Among them are the Summer Arts Festival, which in its 48th season is believed to be the longest-running free admission program in the country; the Westcott House Walking Tours; and the Springfield Museum of Art Ball.

Looking at the future, some challenges were shared, and others were unique. Fortescue, Secttor and Coressel said that funding is extremely important to their organizations. Unique challenges were shared by Wojcik (“so many ideas, and not enough time and hands to execute them”), Rose (awareness), Zimmann (“the changing landscape of how music is consumed”) and Rowe (how to make arts interesting to the younger generations).

But most of the panelists agreed that “community engagement” was one of their most important challenges.

McDorman summed up those thoughts by saying that the arts will flourish or flounder depending on the support it gets from the community.

“We as a community are most important to the success of this group,” he said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Springfield Ooh Ooh Drive-Thru robbed by armed man
Springfield Ooh Ooh Drive-Thru robbed by armed man

A man was able to elude police after robbing a Springfield drive-thru Sunday night.  Officers responded to an alarm from the Ooh Ooh Drive-Thru in the 700 block of Selma Road around 7 p.m. Sunday.  The suspect, described as a male wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans, displayed a handgun and took off with an undetermined amount of cash from...
American Music Awards 2017: Winners list
American Music Awards 2017: Winners list

The 2017 American Music Awards aired live Sunday from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Between performances from Pink, Kelly Clarkson,  Khaled,Christina Aguilera and others, some musicians were honored with awards. Bruno Mars is sure to win at least one AMA, as he leads with eight nominations. Ed Sheeran and Drake have a good chance to take...
Couple sue after police mistake hibiscus for pot in drug bust
Couple sue after police mistake hibiscus for pot in drug bust

A plant mistaken for marijuana led to a Butler County couple suing their police department for a wrongful drug bust. Audrey and Edward Cramer talked about that incident on Thursday as they announced the lawsuit. The Cramers said it all started when their insurance agent came to their Buffalo Township home for a property damage claim and took pictures...
Ryan Seacrest denies inappropriate behavior with stylist
Ryan Seacrest denies inappropriate behavior with stylist

Ryan Seacrest pre-emptively denied an accusation by an anonymous E! hair stylist who said the entertainer acted inappropriately. “Recently, someone that worked as a wardrobe stylist for me nearly a decade ago at E! News, came forward with a complaint suggesting I behaved inappropriately toward her,” Seacrest said Friday. “If...
Deputies fulfill sick boy's wish for Christmas ornaments
Deputies fulfill sick boy's wish for Christmas ornaments

A sick young boy's Christmas wish was fulfilled thanks to Paulding County sheriff's deputies.  Brantley Dobbs is a 6-year-old with an inoperable brain tumor. He said the only thing he wanted for Christmas was different ornaments for all of his Christmas trees. Deputies from the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office went to the boy’s house...
More Stories