You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she enters and leaves a place. At COCA’s Patron Services desk, we enjoy observing our patrons in the front lobby. The “regulars” walk in purposefully, a heavy dance bag slung over the shoulder or well-worn play script grasped tightly in hand. These focused artists know where to go and what to do.
Then, there are the “occasional patrons” who visit a few times a year, are familiar with the building, and stroll in to ask about the latest gallery exhibit or to purchase tickets to a performance. Our current photography exhibit, Michael Eastman and Master Artist Series Students, makes everyday objects, like windows and water fountains, beautiful. Children of all ages will be fascinated by juggling, bunnies, ballerinas, hip-hoppers, pasta, music and more in this season’s Family Theatre Series.
While our regulars make us feel like family and the occasional patrons are pleasant to see again, it’s the patron who shows up for the first time that really inspires. Nothing can match their look of awe. They stand in the doorway and look around the bright, spacious atrium lobby. Some take a deep breath; most smile. I like to think that the openness offers enough space for big dreams. Perhaps the abundant natural light illuminates the creative spark within themselves, their children, or grandchildren. They are delighted and intrigued by Currents, a permanent art installation of hand-sculpted waves, LED lights, and soundscape compositions.
It’s inspiring to know that even in difficult economic times, people are still responding to their desire to create or to watch a play about those who aren’t afraid to create. On October 8 and 9, we’ll see how famous surrealist painter Renee Magritte responded to his artistic call in the Children’s Theatre Company production of This is Not a Pipe Dream.
Improved self-esteem and confidence are common remarks that parents write on COCA’s class evaluation forms. “That’s good,” says Director of Arts Education Shawna Flanigan. “It means that the teachers are taking them into unchartered territory.”
What’s the benefit of being inspired and taking risks? What do inspired people bring to the community? They understand that there is a process to help them follow their calling: to share an idea, to design a plan, to nurture a gift. Inspired people don’t give up. They believe in dreams and push boundaries in their communities.
Whatever your reason for visiting COCA this season, we hope that you leave more inspired than you were when you entered our front doors. And wherever you are in your artistic pursuits—whether viewing our gallery for the first time or dancing center stage for your fourth year—we are pleased that you’ve chosen COCA to fuel your creative spark.
Written by Ann Phillips. Ann is a dance enthusiast and creative writer who works in the Patron Services department at COCA.