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What cultural experiences are available to college students in the Ozarks, and what do the local arts organizations do to involve college students in their programming and offerings? Randy Stewart seeks answers to these questions from representatives of various local arts groups on today's installments of Sense of Community.
SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL: www.springfieldarts.org; www.facebook.com/SpringfieldArts; http://twitter.com/springfieldartsSPRINGFIELD SYMPHONY: www.springfieldmosymphony.org/main/; http://twitter.com/ronspigelman; http://www.facebook.com/springfieldsymphony?ref=tsSRO LYRIC THEATRE: www.srolyrictheatre.org; www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=37741920830SPRINGFIELD LITTLE THEATRE: http://www.landerstheatre.org; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Springfield-MO/Springfield-Little-Theatre/14666895705?ref=share; twitter.com/SpfldTheatre
RANDY: Our Sense of Community series is looking at college life in the Ozarks, and today we’re talking about what the local arts organizations do to contribute to the lives of local college students. As you heard this morning, one thing they don't feel the need to do is offer separate programming specifically for the college crowd, because they’re all trying to reach everyone in the community equally. What they do is try to make it easier for impecunious college kids to attend arts events and performances This afternoon you’ll hear my guests talk about their efforts to directly involve local college students in the creative process through mentoring, and encouraging volunteerism. Springfield Regional Arts Council Education Director Stephanie Cramer says the Arts Council is pleased to have student interns from Missouri State University’s Citizenship and Service Learning or “CASL” program, in which students who sign up for a one-credit course must complete 40 hours of service learning with a community organization.STEPHANIE CRAMER: We have these two sets of students. One is going to help us with Fresh Gallery, and the other one is going to work on “how do we get the word out”--how do we tell our story, who we are, how do we reach college (students)? This is our first assignment. We realize we don’t do a lot of that, and we need to do that. What we really reach are adults, but we would like to grow that base, absolutely.RANDY: The Arts Council also utilizes a couple of office interns per semester, one from MSU and one from Drury, who work at least 10 hours a week with either Stephanie or Arts Council Executive Director Leah Hamilton Jenkins. One of their most recent Drury interns graduated and got a job at the Kansas City Arts Council. The Arts Council works with various gallery venues around town, such as Sky Gallery at Springfield-Branson National Airport, and college-age artists are encouraged to submit artwork for shows and exhibits.The Springfield performing-arts organizations like the Symphony, Little Theatre and the Opera, all make extensive use of talented college students. Springfield Symphony Music Director Ron Spigelman:RON SPIGELMAN: We have a number of college students that actually play IN the orchestra, getting the professional experience at the college age. We do have a number of college students that audition every year and actually get into the group, because they’re talented enough. When we talk about “mentorship,” David Hayes, our Concertmaster--several of his students play in the orchestra. So there’s a direct mentorship there, with him being their concertmaster in performance. We also have intern opportunities in the office, and there’s any number of things we need help on throughout the year, whether they be mailings, whether they be helping us with the stage setup (at concerts). But being around a professional symphony is quite an experience. And we frequently have a couple of interns a year that do great work for us. We help with their resume-building, because we write references of course.RANDY: And the Symphony has plenty of opportunities for volunteering.RON: What I would like to see is much more of a volunteer network, whether it be people who help write material for us, for our grants and programming, helping in the actual concerts… more mentorship opportunities--open rehearsals for all students. You know, there’s all kinds of opportunities.RANDY: SRO Lyric Theatre--formerly Springfield Regional Opera--has a young-artist program that provides real performing experience for a few lucky singers every year, a program Artistic Director Dr. Amy Muchnick would like to see grow.AMY MUCHNICK: You learn to present yourself, as well as sing arias, as well as act, as well as dance, as well as all of these things, and how to perform. So it’s a process-oriented program for a year. They’re going to be in La Boheme--they actually get to be in an opera, and that’s so important if you’re a Vocal Performance major, to be in an opera before you go to graduate school.RANDY (off-mic): How many kids can you serve within that program?AMY: Four, basically, we have. And of course that’s going to grow, now that we are doing so well with the company in general.RANDY: As a recent Missouri State University graduate himself, Springfield Little Theatre Assistant Education Director Andy Willadsen was in numerous Little Theatre shows as a college student.ANDY WILLADSEN: Springfield Little Theatre is your community theatre. If you’re a part of southwest Missouri, we’d love to have you there. All auditions are open. We continually post those on Facebook. And I know I cast college students--we have several college students in Cats. I would love to get more college students involved, because I know while I was in college it was such a great experience for me. It’s PRACTICAL experience, and it looks good on a resume too. Really, any aspect, we encourage people to get involved. The most involvement we get from the colleges is from the performance side of things, but we’re starting to see some more MSU students come in and help us there. And yeah, check Facebook--we’ll put it out if we need volunteers, we’ll put it on Facebook.