Times are tough. We all know that. Belts have been tightened, budgets slashed, many places are forced to close up shop.
People deal with tough times in many different ways. In the past, the arts have been a primary coping outlet. Some of our best literature, theater, and films have been born out of a difficult era or an individual's own hard times. Granted, there are a few other outlets in this day in age, but still, when people need an escape from reality, they turn to a good book, a night at the theater, a favorite movie, or mindless television.
The Capital Region has always been a hotspot for the theater arts. We have some wonderful professional theaters as well as numerous community theater venues. Several of our local colleges have highly regarded theater and arts programs (with many graduates going on to "make it" in Hollywood or on Broadway). But in less than 2 years, The New York State Theater Institute closed, SUNY shut down its theater department, Proctors took over Capital Rep's administration, and Schenectady Community College just announced they're closing their theater department as well. Despite this turmoil, other areas of the Capital Region's theater scene are thriving. Excellent shows are being produced each weekend on stages throughout the area. Yet, many of these shows are not visible on local news coverage. And more specifically, in the Metroland, which was recently voted as the "Best in the 2012 Poll for Arts Coverage." What?? How does the "Best Arts Coverage" magazine not actually have any reviews or listings of some of the most wonderful shows recently produced in the area?
Despite the growing challenges, our local arts venues are persevering and doing their best with more and more limited resources. Think about what our world would be like without the arts. I know there are some out there that would say, No Big Deal (That's a debate for another posting!). But let's say it IS a big deal. If there are no arts outlets left, will there ever be another Hemingway, Miller, Spielberg, or gasp, dare I say Shakespeare? What about us common folk that just need a cheap, entertaining night out? Please don't tell me that the only "entertainment" that we'll be forced to endure is Jersey Shore!
I know that unfortunately there are a lot of things our hands are tied on. However, there is one thing we can do to make our voices heard. There's a petition going around urging the Metroland to support Capital Region theater by providing comprehensive coverage of the local theater scene, and to truly live up to its title of "Best Arts Coverage."
Please help by signing the petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/metroland-editor-publisher-cover-capital-region-theater
Let's make an effort to keep the Arts here in the Capital Region!