Supporting the arts
Ever since it opened in May 2002, part of the mission of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre has been arts outreach. Since its opening, the theater has hosted more than 100,000 audience members, 270 performances and 40 free shows. Last year al...
Ever since it opened in May 2002, part of the mission of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre has been arts outreach.
Since its opening, the theater has hosted more than 100,000 audience members, 270 performances and 40 free shows. Last year alone, more than 22,000 people attended main stage shows, and more than 5,500 area students attended daytime school shows.
Not only does the theater present between four and six children's productions every season -- offering tickets at free or reduced rates for area school students -- but it also sponsors workshops by some of its featured performers, which often include visits to local schools, nursing homes and senior centers.
In addition, the theater sponsors fine arts outreach activities at area school districts including "Mosaic Mania," "Mobile in Motion" and the upcoming "Tell Me a Story."
Some of these activities are funded by arts grants and business sponsorships, but as executive director Amy Stoller Stearns noted, the dollars from grants and sponsorships usually fund only a portion of the cost.
"It's still important to maintain that local support (i.e., private donations) -- we couldn't operate without it," Stearns said. "It takes all three -- business sponsorship, individual support and grants -- to make it happen.
"It's all part of the fabric," she continued. "Without one piece, something would have to change, whether it's higher ticket prices, fewer offerings, or lower quality programming. You have to have it all."
Even when a show is offered to the public free of charge -- like this week's production of Mixed Blood Theatre's "African America," or Will Weaver's memoir writing workshop this past Friday -- there is a cost involved, Stearns noted.
"When there are free concerts, free shows, it's really not free," she explained. "There are still heat and lights and taxes and travel expenses (for the artists); staff time, artist time, food. There are costs to everything."
One important piece of the theater's funding puzzle is its annual Motion benefit, which raises money to support arts programming and "a multitude of outreach activities" in the lakes area.
The 2011 Motion fundraiser is set for this Saturday, Jan. 29 at the theater, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. The theme is "black and white with a splash of color, featuring the tastes and sights of Paris."
Motion is an evening of delicious food, dynamite décor, unique dinners and "Gatherings to Go," and this year's event features great music by The Fat Cats as well.
"Each year it's grown, both in the money raised and what we've been able to do in the community," Stearns said. "There is a direct correlation ... it really does make a difference in this area."
Stearns said that each year's benefit is planned by "a steadfast, creative group of volunteers. They really go above and beyond in planning the décor, the food, the items to sell.
"I am so touched by what this committee does for the theater and for children in this region," she continued. "They spend so much time and effort every year -- they're thinking about and planning for Motion from the day after one year's event until the next."
Stearns said the committee goes about planning each year's benefit "always with two thoughts in mind -- celebrating the arts in this region, and doing some thing for the children, exposing them to new opportunities through the arts."
Tickets for the benefit are $50 ($15 for the dance only), and can be purchased by visiting the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office at 806 Summit Ave., or by calling 218-844-SHOW. You can also order your tickets online at www.dlccc.org .