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Saturday, July 26, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 3/23/2013

Will you help the Valentine reach out?

BY TEDD A. LONG

In 1999, our community buzzed with excitement over the reopening of the restored Valentine Theatre. Fourteen years later, first-time visitors still stand in awe as they discover our historic lobby and the splendor of our main stage, while they enjoy local performing arts, classic films, and national touring companies.

Through our commitment to making the arts available and affordable to our community, the Valentine has played an integral role in keeping Toledo a vital and proud community. Today, we invite you to rediscover the Valentine by helping us engage our community with the arts.

The Valentine has many avenues through which we offer the arts to area residents and, as a result, strengthen our community. Studies show that those who participate in the arts in a meaningful way are more engaged citizens, are more likely to attend college, and are more inclined to volunteer their time.

We host performances by such local institutions as the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, Toledo Opera, Toledo Symphony, Toledo Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Toledo, Toledo Jazz Orchestra, Toledo School for the Arts, and high school arts groups. The mission of the Valentine’s educational outreach program is to make the performing arts accessible to the broadest possible audience, and to cultivate an understanding of and appreciation for the arts.

We are committed to providing opportunities for students and the community to connect with the artists who perform at the Valentine. We invite visiting artists to arrive before their performance dates, to engage in master classes.

Recently, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, a world renowned modern dance ensemble, worked with more than 50 local students at the Valentine. In addition to taking part in master classes, more than 15,000 students participate each year in performance programs that provide a basis for learning, growing, connecting with other cultures, and exchanging ideas.

Revenue for our educational programs, outreach, and hosting of local performances comes from three main sources: ticket sales, rental fees, and private support. Unfortunately, these sources cover only about half of our operating costs. They leave little to support our goals of community connection and making our facility more affordable to local performing arts groups.

To address this gap, the Valentine is forming a partnership with the Toledo Community Foundation to establish the Local Performing Arts Fund, to help offset the costs to arts groups of using our theatre. The fund will benefit from ticket sales for our first Season of the Arts Preview this fall, a day-long celebration of local performing arts. We also are launching a “Reach In To Reach Out” campaign to help raise money for our outreach programs.

We know that students thrive in an atmosphere that fosters creative expression, local involvement, community service, and personal growth. We know that local performing arts groups deserve a high-quality, cost-effective venue in which to practice their craft. It is imperative that we take the lead to ensure the success of these initiatives for outreach and advocacy.

Based on our experience of the past 14 years, we know that a high-quality performing arts center affects a region in innumerable ways — elevating the local quality of life, providing opportunities for children’s enrichment, fortifying our community’s economic and business climate. The Valentine Theatre provides these and many other benefits to our region as it carries on its rich cultural and artistic legacy.

We hope you will help ensure that the Valentine will continue to grow and develop to meet the needs of our community, by supporting our educational programs and local performing arts advocacy.

To contribute to the “Reach In To Reach Out” campaign, click on the “donate now” button at www.valentinetheatre.com. Donations to the Local Performing Arts Fund can be sent to: Valentine Theatre LPA Fund, 410 Adams St., Toledo, OH 43604.

Tedd A. Long is board chairman of the Valentine Theatre.



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