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People involved in their community are the real news

Mr. Scrooge visits the Cratchet family in the Beale Street Theater’s wildly successful performance of “The Scrooge,” in December.

Courtesy/Matt Hecht

Mr. Scrooge visits the Cratchet family in the Beale Street Theater’s wildly successful performance of “The Scrooge,” in December.

Welcome to “Real News.”

There’s a lot of discussion today about what that really means. Since this is my initial post, I want to let you know what to expect. “Real News” to me is about real people. It’s about people doing for other people. People helping others, supporting others, creating opportunities, and dedicated to making their own little corner of the world a better place.

We have lots of people like that in Kingman. There are citizens who every day make it a part of their day to help others. Some do it quietly and some more noticeably, but it all matters.

A major contribution to the betterment of Kingman recently has been the activity of The Kingman Center for the Arts. Did you know they have children’s programs? Kids of all ages got to participate in classes at the Kingman Library to “explore the arts in areas such as painting, weaving, music appreciation, and theater.” In addition, they offer children’s theater and adult theater productions with open auditions.

So what? Who needs the arts?

We all do. Kingman is growing, and it is a fact that thriving communities include opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy and participate in the arts.

I recently wrote this as part of an article advocating for an arts center in Kingman.

When considering the benefits of a performing arts center, we must realize that we are really talking about a multi-faceted resource that touches all aspects of a community’s social, cultural, educational, and economic development.

Participation in the arts is about much more than entertainment. Studies have shown that it can actually strengthen communities and contribute to greater feelings of safety and cohesiveness.

The arts promote people exploring their own creativity, and through self-exploration develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their fellows, and their connection to their community, culture and the human family at large.

A performing arts center is far more than just another building. It becomes one of the precious resources of a community by enhancing the quality of life and a city’s image as a desirable place to live and visit.

Participation in the performing arts instills, not only in children but in people of all ages, greater self-confidence and can help them to find a voice, a renewed purpose. The educational opportunities are limitless, from the very young to our eldest members of the community.

A 2009 study by Johns Hopkins University School of Education reported that children who participated in a curriculum that integrated the arts were more attentive, retained what they learned more easily, and were more motivated. Executive Director of the D.C. Youth Orchestra, Liz Schurgin, points out that “teaching children the importance of collaboration is essential for future endeavors, whether academic or social. With performing arts, children learn the importance of working together, while working through differences.”

Recent studies are showing great results of improved physical and mental capabilities of the elderly in general, and in one particular study, Parkinson’s patients involved in specialized dance classes showed a remarkable difference.

I hear constantly from parents about the need for organized activities for our youth, and we have a large elderly population between permanent residents and “snow birds.” This provides another way to acknowledge and serve them.

If you’re thinking “arts” is about black ties and pretentious activity – come out of the dark ages. Ever go to the movies? Guess what? You’ve participated and probably allowed yourself to enjoy “the arts.”

So it’s time to expand your horizons. And it’s time for local media to give credit and attention where it’s due – on positive coverage of people contributing to the betterment of Kingman, and not just in the community calendar.

March 30 and 31, there’s an opportunity to check out Beale Street Dinner Theater at the Grand Events Center, sponsored by Kingman Center for the Arts.

Never been to a “dinner theater” performance? How about watching TV while eating at a fast-food restaurant? It’s called eating while being entertained, except with dinner theater, the entertainment is “live.” Try it. And, FYI: You don’t have to rent a tux.

More information is available at www.bealestreettheater.com/events.

Kingman stands on the brink an exciting new development that will be celebrated for many years to come. Check it out. Get involved. Because people involved in their community is real news.