To 30 years of FOA Family,
There’s so much I want to tell you about. Your FOA is moving and growing. I can’t decide what to start with…so here’s a few things I could start with:
- I could tell you about the almost 60,000 trips to downtown Jonesboro our programming attracts annually,
- Or that, over last year, we have visitors from at least 12 states visit The Forum Theater
- Or maybe that we employ 36 teachers and artists, 4 full-time, and 4 part-time employees,
- I love to say that we serve 350 families in The Arts Center, 30% of whom are on Tuition Waiver, so that they can study their art regardless of their ability to pay,
- Or I could tell you about the 7 outreach programs,
- Or the almost 20,000 theater-goers who will attend The Forum next year.
And while The FOA is thriving through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, I’m hesitant to say too much sometimes, because I don’t want you to misunderstand because money is still an issue:
- Ticket sales only compensate for about ¼ of the money The FOA requires to run all of its programming,
- And tuition paid for classes in The Arts Center only covers about another quarter,
- The impact The FOA has on the community is because we believe in providing arts experiences and education for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay for it.
All of those things are really important, but they’re not the core of my passion.
The arts, when practiced well, elevate humanity. They allow for the people working on them to forget each other’s politics, their race, even the divisive parts of their religion, and focus on the qualities that make us each good: like humility, redemption, true justice, and real love.
Working on the arts allows us to unite.
And further, those people coming to The FOA learn to redefine themselves by discovering abilities they never knew they had. I get to see people every day who never realized what they had in them. And in the coming years, I suspect we will all be required to expand and even redefine what we know about each other and ourselves. The FOA does that for people.
This season, I’m so thankful for each one of you who worked over the past three decades to give our community The Foundation of Arts. You know who you are. You are the Board members, the donors, the parents of dancers, the consistent patrons, the volunteers, the actors, and the directors. You are the people who believed in the mission enough to invest in it, and the arts in our community… for everyone.
I realize that these times are uncertain, and the impulse to refrain from giving is strong because of that. But in these times especially, isn’t it important to insure that a place like The FOA remains – and even grows – for our families?
I am grateful that you took the time to read these thoughts, and that you’ve allowed me to be a part of a very unique and important place. Hopefully, you’ll choose to support what good people have cared for over the years. Let’s make this year the best year!
p.s. If you have any memories of The Forum, The Strand, or The FOA from years gone by, we need that memory recorded! Please click here to blog about it about it.