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Family. We all belong to (at least) one. Our families can include the people we cherish and love the most.
According to broad definition, “family” means a group of people who are tied together through some common thread – whether it be biological, ancestry, living arrangements, common interest or love. Family, in my dictionary, has 11 distinct definitions.
Our organization has a family, too – these are the people who care about and support the Lancaster County Council of the Arts. They are the ticket buyers, patrons, volunteers, board members, supporters and donors, who are integral to the overall health and wellness of our organization.
The LCCA has been growing its family for more than 40 years – since 1977. Doing so helps promote our mission to build and maintain a healthy community by enhancing the quality of life in Lancaster County through the arts.
Just as a strong family supports its members through good times and bad, so does our organizational family. They help us create an insurance policy – if you will – against economic downturns and lack of funding.
Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts says this: “It pays to invest in family-building. Just ask any board or staff member of an organization that can focus on future programming and achievement rather than on cash-flow dilemmas and budget-cutting. The good, disciplined work these healthy organizations did during good times created an insurance policy against the current bad times.”
Back to my earliest recollection, in my family, you didn’t leave my grandparents’ or aunts’ and uncles’ houses without something to take with you. Their parting gifts could be something from their plentiful gardens, fruit trees, home-cooked food, little gifts just for you and more hugs and kisses than I can count. Perhaps it was just that loving wave from the front door. Something tangible or intangible to take with us that would never leave our hearts, minds and memories.
I believe the arts do the same thing for people: they leave us something very meaningful, seen or unseen, to take with us when we go.
I have attended many performances and seen beautiful artwork and sculpture that will never leave my memory.
Chances are, if you live in Lancaster and took part in some of our arts programming, you left humming the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” when you left “The Nutcracker.”
Maybe you can still visualize the masterful artwork created by our children on the Main Street banners or during Youth Art Month. Perhaps you still sing a song from one of the musical theater productions by the Community Playhouse or listened in awe to a classical piece by the Chamber Choir.
During November, you had an opportunity to start a tradition with your family by attending “The Nutcracker,” which featured the children of our community.
There are more opportunities available Sunday. To see interior design arts with a holiday theme, go on the Lancaster Garden Club 25th Annual Christmas Home Tour from 3 to 6 p.m., sponsored by the Lancaster Garden Club.
At 7 p.m., you can go hear Chamber Choir perform Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with strings and organ at First United Methodist Church.
In addition, you can view some marvelous photography by David Baker displayed on the walls of Springs House Art Gallery.
These are wonderful things to take with you and share when you leave. Just like family.
Arts. Imagination starts here.
– Debbie Jaillette is executive director of Lancaster County Council of the Arts.