Category Archives: General

This cast photo is a true testament to the brilliance of Michael Thomas' staging and Aaron Nicolas' lighting.

10 Reasons to Support the Arts this Year

The pandemic has taken a toll on arts organizations and performers around the world. Content has gone online, which is great to continue valuable missions, but not so great when most organizations utilize over 60% of ticket revenue for operating budgets and performers have lost their salaries.

As stated in ArtsBlog from Americans for the Arts, “The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts also are a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.”

In 2020, please consider supporting the arts as much as you can. And, if you need a reason why, here are 10 of them.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Demolition of the Rainbow Mortgage Building

In our last blog, October 2019 was noted as an intense month for the Renaissance – tons of events and productions. One event… a monumental event…will never be forgotten – the demolition of the Rainbow Mortgage building.

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This once majestic building was taken down on October 30, 2019 to a crowd of Renaissance Performing Arts and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum supporters in camaraderie for the future of The Imagination District.

The Imagination District is the brainchild of Mike Miller, CEO of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association, and Fred Boll, Executive Director of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum. The collaboration of the two organizations will create the area known as The Imagination District. In September 2018, The Renaissance opened the Black Box Theatre (Theatre 166.) This venue is located directly next to the future home of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum on Park Avenue. The future is bright for this alliance – one of the many plans for Theatre 166 is to hold educational activities and performances specific to children from the museum.

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DRM Productions: The People Behind the Curtain

Web Design“For over 30 years, DRM Productions has been dedicated to creating quality media for our clients, ” reads the beginning of DRM’s history page at drminc.com.  And, without missing a beat, Jon Pierce, President, said those exact words by memory in this exclusive interview.

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Interview with Matti-Lynn Chrisman: 2018 Miss Ohio

Miss Ohio 2018, Matti-Lynn Chrismas

Miss Ohio 2018, Matti-Lynn Chrisman

“And the 2018 Miss Ohio is…” Seems just like yesterday for Matti-Lynn Chrisman being crowned on the Renaissance stage for the 2018 Miss Ohio Scholarship Program.  Since then, the Kent State University graduate who holds a Bachelor’s in Musical Theatre (2018) and an ongoing study in Public Communications B.A. (expected to graduate Fall of 2019), has traveled across the state of Ohio impacting individuals from all walks of life and advocating her social initiative impact.  Matti was recently seen on the Renaissance stage this past March in Mamma Mia as Sophie.

As Matti’s position as Miss Ohio concludes this week, we wanted to hear her take on how the last year has been as a state-wide celebrity.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Sprang Photography

Photo Credit: Jeff Sprang Photography

Ah! The english language – the first subject that I was involved with in school that I excelled at… but also probably one of the worst subjects I was involved with.  Unlike many other languages that have a basic format that can be used time and time again and make perfect sense, English continues to confuse people and students alike.  In many circumstances, there are different spellings for the same place or thing (grey vs gray, disc vs. disk, ax vs. axe, etc.).  For theater (or is it theatre), there are two spellings, but what are the rules when using them? Continue reading

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.

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.”