Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Proposed Arts Council Gets First Breath of Life

Liberty Underwood, representing the Adrian Community Theater spoke with great enthusiasm about the possibility of the enhancement and showcasing of the arts in and around Bates County during a meeting held last Thursday evening.

On April 21st, a group met at Robertson Hall at the Bates County Museum to kick around the idea of starting an arts council in Bates County and the outcome of that meeting appears to be better than expected. The formation of such a council is the brainchild of museum curator Peggy Buhr to further the appreciation of music, theater, and more; her idea was met with enthusiasm by the group along with some really good ideas on how to get it off the ground.

Buhr opened the discussion on why she thinks a council would be beneficial, as she was followed by like minded Liberty Underwood who spoke on behalf of the Adrian Community Theater and their ‘role’ in such a project. Underwood talked about how the Adrian Community Theater was also an idea that came about as the local school had cut the drama department and she realized there was plenty of local support for such a program.

Combining interested folks and resources seems to be the answer and there seems to be plenty of both with more yet to be discovered.

As those attending were allowed to introduce themselves around the room, it was clear that there is a lot of hidden talent here in Bates county- one attendee has an extensive background in the film industry; another has experience with a similar program in another state in a region about the size of our county; along with musicians, actors, managers, directors, an arts degree holder, a novelist and several with set design experience to name a few.

Financing the project was also discussed, and Buhr mentioned that she recently made a connection with the Missouri Arts Council that could be quite beneficial as they are looking to expand in smaller rural areas such as Bates county. Fortunately, within the group who attended there is a person with grant writing experience that certainly will be needed. Financing most likely will be discussed more in an upcoming meeting. 

“We’re planting the seed” said Buhr “to not only put the spotlight on theater and drama, but everything else considered art” as mentioned in our interview last week. “It would include piano recitals, art shows of all kinds, storytelling, children’s art shows, folk art and dance, school music and art, you name it. It’s only limited to everyone’s imagination”. 

In terms of a place to hold these events, there may be at least a temporary answer according to Underwood as she mentioned that the Adrian Community Theater is in the process of negotiating a spot; but just in case several other locations were mentioned including Butler, Amsterdam and Rich Hill. Also mentioned last week, Buhr noted that there’s “plenty of acreage” available on the museum property pending of course, financing such a structure. “Long term goals” she said with a smile.

As the meeting wound down it’s apparent there is a lot to do- officially put together a council with not-for-profit status and develop relations with other community events/groups to build a working relationship to name a few.

Certainly more ground will be gained for the arts council in the upcoming meeting on May 12th, 6:30 pm also to be held at Robertson Hall at the Bates County Museum. The public is highly encouraged to attend, especially those with ideas and experience; even if not and you just want to help out in one way or another. Likewise if you know someone who might be interested, please help spread the word.  

In the meantime if you have questions or comments please contact Peggy Buhr at the Bates County Museum.

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