Fostering community through the arts.
by Maribeth Ling, box office lead at Raue Center For The Arts
Patrons have flocked to the Theater since as early as the fifth century, looking for a supportive and immersive experience. To be transported out of their own lives and into those on stage. It’s one of the things I love about the Theater: a passion my family helped instill in me.
One of the first live performances that I can recall seeing was my Uncle performing in 1776 at the Shady Lane Theater in Marengo. That performance steered me to want to try acting for myself. so my twin sister and I joined a production of Oliver Twist shortly after. It was an experience that led me to realize that I didn’t like being on stage. I enjoyed being behind the scenes much more than being in the spotlight. My sister, on the other hand, loved being onstage.
David M. Rubenstein once said that “The Performing Arts tend to unify people in a way nothing else does.” That is the beauty of the Theater. No matter who you are, there will be something that speaks to you—Introverts versus Extroverts, Music people versus Orators, Dramas versus Comedies. There is room for everyone at the Theater, whether they want to be in the spotlight or behind the scenes. My sister and I are a lot alike in many ways, but the theater gave us a place to express our differences and still share in a common experience.
I first came to Raue Center For The Arts in High School. My choir performed on its stage every year during the second semester. When we arrived, the first thing we took note of was its beauty. You can’t help but look around in awe at the Spanish-style décor. The lobby’s tile flooring and ironwork are not found in many areas. We couldn’t wait to perform on the stage, under the starlit sky. It’s a beautiful but relaxed environment.
Later on, I came to see the Whirling Dervishes, movie screenings, several WSR shows, and even a comedian or two. It wasn’t until I started to work here, however, that I understood what Raue Center for the Arts means to the Community. The Theater has a part in community events such as the Bob Blazier Run, the Johnny Appleseed Festival, and the 6×6 project. They provide space to different Dance studios and host their educational programs and shows. Marshall McLuhan once said, “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” Through Education, they allow students to come into their own, developing their interests and help create their sense of community that will carry on for years to come.
I have never seen a more peer encouraged, supportive group of children than the students at Raue Center School For The Arts. The variety that is offered allows everyone to get involved in the Arts.
One of the best parts of my job is hearing about how the Raue has affected its patrons. We have had patrons come in with their families to share their memories in the building. Recently, a patron talked with me about how they used to work in the building when it was a movie theater. It was fun to listen to his memories of what the building looked like. I’ve overheard patrons talking about how they lived in the upstairs apartments, currently our 26N Lounge space. Another patron talked about how participating in the 6×6 project reignited their passion for art. Raue Center for the Arts is enriching lives for the best through the power of Performing Arts; I had no idea how much it was needed until I became a part of it.
Photo by Todd Heintz Photography.