The Dish on Cujo

I love dogs.  No – let me rephrase: I LOVE DOGS!!  To me, they are the best companions.  They are loyal, they have wicked senses of humor, they are great listeners…and they offer a protection that is very comforting.

However, few things in life are worse than a dog gone bad.  In To Kill a Mockingbird, there is a very poignant scene in which Atticus kills a rabid dog that has come into town. Every time I read or see that scene I want to cry because I bet that dog was a good dog at one time. Maybe even had a human companion that loved it very much.

Cujo on the other hand…well, this dog is just downright terrifying in the way that only the great master, Stephen King, can create.  It is not my favorite story or even movie of King’s, but with it coming to the Renaissance on July 19th, I wanted to see if there were any facts about it that might draw me in.  I certainly did find some!  Keep reading to learn some very interesting things about everyone’s most frightening beast.

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How to Win an Audition

With auditions for Annie coming up in September, and then Mamma Mia in January, now is the time to make a serious beginning to preparations in order to win the audition!  If you are a follower of this blog, three weeks ago in a blog titled “Mistakes and the Art of Perfection” I mentioned a mantra that has always helped me get to the best of my abilities: “It is a question of time, patience and intelligent work”.  For auditions, all three do apply, but I truly believe, based on personal experience, that intelligent work will help you win that audition.

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A Murder in Mansfield

This week at the Renaissance, we will be holding a special hometown screening of the documentary film A Murder in Mansfield, which focuses on the 1990 locally infamous murder of Noreen Boyle by her husband, Dr. John Boyle.  We have sold over 1500 tickets to this event so far, which shows the tremendous impression this tragedy left on our community.

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What I Know About Cars

In honor of our Rock ‘n’ Roll Car Festival that is coming up on June 23rd, I thought I would share my vast knowledge about cars.  Now before you get too excited, let me be the first to say that I have never changed a tire, nor even my own oil, but, hey!, I have been driving for a long time and with a really clean record.  Not convinced?  Well, keep reading and then you can be the judge.

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Mistakes and the Expectation of Perfection

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Many moons ago, I was the flute instructor at the Cazadero Performing Arts camp in Northern California for seven summers.  One summer evening, a wind trio from the San Francisco Symphony came and performed at the camp.  After a delightful set, the musicians of the trio stayed on stage and opened up for a Q & A.  After a number of questions like “How did you get so good?” and “Is this your day job?” were asked, one young student inquired “Do you ever make a mistake?”  The clarinetist of the group said frankly “All of the time.”  He went on to explain by describing a recent recording session of one of the San Francisco Symphony’s Mahler recordings.  There was a small section of just a few measures that were just “not right”.  So, after the whole set was done, the musicians went back into the studio and re-recorded the measures for an hour to make it sound perfect on the finished album.

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Photo by Jeff Sprang Photography, 2018

Why the Arts Matter

by Colleen Cook

As a graduate student studying arts administration, one of my professors posed a question that has stuck with me ever since:

“Why do the arts matter?”

The professor argued that, if we couldn’t answer that question, we should change our degree track. Every day of our professional life, we’d be answering that question in one way or another, whether we were seeking funding for a program, trying to sell a ticket to a show, or simply sacrificing higher pay in Corporate America for a meager non-profit salary. Yet, despite the fact that everyone in the room had been engaged with the arts for decades, the question is not exactly an easy one to answer.

Many of the students began to answer by sharing our own experiences with the arts. The spoke of high school musicals, favorite pieces, art shows, and friendships formed as a result of creating art together. Nearly every person shared a memory of a relationship formed through the creation or experience of art.

As we drilled down beyond “why do the arts matter to me?” the conversation turned to, “why should the arts matter to anyone else?” The conversation revolved around the economic benefits of the presence of arts in a community, what the arts can do to support education, healthcare, tourism, and business.  Every one of those conversations felt like it gave greater weight to the conversation, however, it still seemed incomplete.

Here’s why I believe the arts matter:

The arts are unique in their ability to put us in touch with our own humanity, and the humanity of others. Because the arts communicate through story, and the human brain is hardwired for story, we are able to learn and grow when we experience art – be it visual, dance, music, theatre, or writing. The arts have the power to change what we think, how we feel, and lend us a perspective outside of our own paradigm.

When we experience these paradigm shifts, we applaud it and we eagerly share that experience with those we love. (“You have to read this book/see this movie/get tickets to this play!”) The arts offer us a point of connection to those around us, a sense of belonging, and a deeper understanding of ourselves and each other. In a divided world, the arts knit us back together.

That’s something worth sacrificing for, worth tirelessly working towards, worth investing in.

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Year-long Stephen King Film Festival features Films and Symposia

This blog has been reposted from Mystery Fanfare by Janet Rudolph

Fans of Stephen King’s writing now have an opportunity to immerse themselves in his literature, studying the iconic author and the movies sparked by his books. The Stephen King Film Festival takes place in Mansfield, Ohio — the very location where one of his most famous movies based on his work was filmed. One of the most haunted and recognizable places in all of Ohio, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield gained much of its notoriety not for its own historic past, but its role in the Stephen King novella that produced “The Shawshank Redemption.” Twenty-four years after the release of the No. 1 movie of all time (according to IMDB), King fans now can celebrate his work in Mansfield June through December, 2018.

The Festival includes screenings of some of the most renowned movies based on King’s novels and novellas at Mansfield’s historic Renaissance Theater. Each screening begins at 7 p.m. and will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a talk led by a noted authority on Stephen King’s writings and their impact on literature and society. After each discussion and film screening, attendees are invited to head to nearby Phoenix Brewing Company for craft beer tastings, movie trivia, and further discussion of film and literary works. The brewery offers Redemption IPA, among others.

Speakers for the evenings, held monthly with the exception of September, include professors, pop-culture experts and literary authorities specializing in King’s work, including:

  • June 21: Stand by Me, Carl Sederholm, PhD, professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Comparative Arts and Letters, Brigham Young University; Dr. Sederholm has written several articles and scholarly studies of King’s work
  • July 19: CUJO, Phil Simpson, PhD, President-Elect of the Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association, Dr. Simpson has written two books; one onStephen King’s work and another tracking serial killers through contemporary American film and fiction
  • August 16: IT, Mary Findley, PhD, a Professor of English at Vermont Technical College, Dr. Findley’s expertise includes how horror is manifested in popular culture, having written extensively about Stephen King’s work in Contemporary Literary Criticism and other scholarly journals
  • October 18: Carrie, Michael Perry, PhD, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Rockford University, Dr. Perry authored “King Me: Inviting New Perceptions” and “Purposes of the Popular and Horrific into the College Classroom.” He also co-edited “Stephen King’s Modern Macabre: Essays on the Later Works.”
  • November 15: The Mist, Patrick McAleer, Professor of English, Inver Hills Community College, McAleer authored “Inside the Dark Tower Series” and “The Writing Family of Stephen King”; co-authored “Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics: Reflections on the Modern Master of Horror” and co-edited “Stephen King’s Modern Macabre: Essays” on the Later Works.”
  • December 13: The Shining, Dr. Anthony Magistrale, Professor of English at the University of Vermont, Dr. Magistrale served as a research assistant to Stephen King and has authored dozens of academic books, articles and treatises on King’s work and the Gothic genre

For tickets and information about the Stephen King Film Festival, click here.

Colleen Cook photo by Brittany Schock

A Fond Farewell

This article by Brittany Schock has been reposted from Richland Source. Read the original here.

Colleen Cook had no plans to leave the Renaissance Theatre.

After being on staff for six years and serving as the theatre’s director of marketing and communications, it was – and still is – a job she loves. Along with planning and overseeing all promotion of the Renaissance, Cook also manages the Renaissance podcastblog and social media accounts.

So when Scott Williams, president and founder of Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, first approached Cook about a job, she quickly shut him down.

“I told him to buzz off because I like my job,” Cook said with a laugh. “But as time went on it seemed like a really cool, exciting opportunity.”

Months went by, full of thoughtful conversations with friends, prayers for guidance and many journals full of pros and cons. Finally, Cook decided to listen to a small voice inside saying it was the right opportunity, and officially accepted a position as director of operations for Vinyl Marketing.

“I don’t think it’s good to get too comfortable in your career, and at the same time I’m grieving that level of familiarity and comfort,” Cook said. “And there are exciting opportunities for growth for me as a professional.

“I feel like it’s going to challenge me in new ways and that scares me and excites me.”

Vinyl Marketing is a digital inbound marketing firm based in Ashland that focuses on full-funnel marketing. It’s a concept that distributes helpful and free content to consumers while they are still deciding what to buy, then building a series of channels that seamlessly attracts those consumers back to the business.

“You can take people from not even knowing your business through this funnel until they become raving fans of your company,” Cook explained. “Rather than saying ‘buy our stuff’ from that first interaction, we show you what we can do. It helps the client but also positions the business as the expert so they start to build a relationship with their customers.”

In fact, it was Williams’ suggestion for the Renaissance to create a podcast and a blog so that customers could engage with the Renaissance brand in ways other than purchasing tickets and attending shows.

In her new position, Cook will work with both local and international clients to see their vision with Vinyl comes to fruition, as well as working internally with the Vinyl team and leading marketing efforts.

In addition, she has the opportunity to become a part-owner of Vinyl Marketing, which also helped tip the scales towards her next career step.

“When I look at the people who really inspire me, all of them have one thing in common, and that’s that they are business owners,” Cook said. “And looking at what they have been able to do for a community to affect change, I want to be able to do that in my career.

“I’ve been able to do that a lot at the Renaissance, but I’ll be able to do it exponentially more.”

Before coming to the Renaissance, Cook worked with Americans for the Arts and Shenandoah Conservatory Performances while obtaining her masters degree in Arts Administration at Shenandoah Conservatory, where she also completed graduate work in Contemporary Commercial Voice Pedagogy. Prior to that, she taught vocal and general music in Wapakoneta City Schools, after graduating with a degree in Music Education from Ashland University in 2007.

Cook lives in Ashland with her husband and three daughters, which makes the transition seamless. But she still plans to stay involved in some capacity with Richland County.

“It would make me sad if I didn’t; I’m just not sure what that will look like yet,” Cook said. “We’ll figure it out as we go. The Renaissance is no less important to me, it’s maybe even more important to me now because I want to make sure things continue to grow and move forward.”

Cook will officially leave her position at the Renaissance in mid May. During her tenure, Cook helped arrange grant funding to repair and renovate the theatre, helped redesign the Renaissance logo and developed a more cohesive brand for the business.

The hardest part about leaving the Renaissance? The people.

“I have really close friends here on staff, and I love the donors, the performers, I love the people that flock to the Renaissance,” Cook said. “Those are my people. It will be hard to say goodbye.”

Renaissance Chandelier Restoration 2015 photo by Jeff Sprang

Moving from Success to Significance

by Colleen Cook

When I was in graduate school, I was fortunate to take an intensive course on fundraising for non-profit organizations. I distinctly remember one lecture, in particular, where my professor was unpacking the various reasons why someone chooses to give to an organization. At the time, my husband and I were living in a studio apartment an hour from D.C. on one meager income while I was a full time graduate student, so it was understandably hard for me to wrap my mind around being successful enough that paying the bills wasn’t a big challenge.

“When a person has reached a certain level of success in their personal and professional life, they are no longer just surviving, they’re thriving,” the professor taught. “They’re looking for ways they can positively impact the world around them.”

Admittedly, I’m further down the road than I was at the time, but with three small children at home, I wouldn’t say I’ve “made it” yet. But, I have been so fortunate to learn from many people further down the road than me in the past six years I’ve been on staff at the Ren.

When a person is successful and can look around their world and assess that they have what they need and what they want, they have the privilege to ask themselves, “Now what?” They have been fortunate to have time, talents, and treasures, more than they can use in one lifetime, they can overflow into the world around them. That might mean that they pour into their families, into an individual protégé, a charity, or perhaps they choose to share their success in a meaningful way with their community.

In just the last couple of years at the Renaissance, we’ve been able to witness successful individuals, families, and their designated foundations making a significant impact inside our doors. Just a few things that have happened as a direct result of donations:

  • We’ve been able to offer sensory-friendly musicals at no cost to families with special needs.
  • We have been able to repair, replace, and restore crumbling parts of our facility, shoring it up for the next generation to ensure that the Renaissance can continue to be a cultural hub.
  • We are drastically expanding our footprint to remove blight on our block and expand our programming, with the purchase of two buildings adjacent to our theatre.
  • We have offered reduced-priced tickets to every show in our season, free tickets for those in need, and supported dozens of community fundraisers with ticket donations

If you’re looking for ways to make a lasting impact on your community, connect with our Development Office and we can help you channel your success into significance.