Good morning! I just got to take a tour yesterday afternoon of the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center’s Paramount School of the Arts, our Artist Housing and the top floor’s Artesan Lofts! With a group of our excellent staff from Paramount’s various departments, I got to see the progress being made in the building process, and as Max Bialystock would say, “Wowie, wawa, wow, wow, WOW!” If you’ve been curious about all the construction going on at Stolp and Galena, I’m here to tell ya, it’s mighty impressive!
Paramount’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, Shannon Cameron, distributed hard hats to each of us before leading us through the many halls and stairways, sidestepping here and there among the friendly workers giving us a nod as we passed through. The feel of it all was so upbeat! I couldn’t help but imagine what it must be like for Shannon to see all of these plans that she has studied and prepared for so long now materializing and coming to life! We all were awed. My heart raced. My mind’s eye could see our Broadway Series casts entering the building into the grand new rehearsal hall. A space of our own! And our own artists’ housing, so full of light with fully loaded kitchens, baths and laundry. I think how great it will be for the actors, directors, choreographers, designers, writers and composers drawn here to Paramount to develop their practice with us! The beginning of a new era!
The Artesan Lofts are a wonderful addition to the culture and community of Downtown Aurora. Again, these are sunny, fully-appointed apartments with bonus public space for gathering and classes and exchanging ideas. This is the kind of positive, optimistic atmosphere in which to live and work and make art!
This is soul-stirring stuff to ponder and appreciate. And it’s here for everyone and anyone. No matter who you are or where you’re from. It’s the future. Right here!
And my gosh, the School of the Arts! Opening June 1, we got a sneak peek at the many classrooms, practice rooms, dance studios and the student’s black-box theater of their very own! I could almost hear the music filling these spaces, the young voices rising up, the dancing and exercising and skills being developed; the children’s experiments and adventures!
Shannon Cameron, take a moment to receive all the gratitude from all of us for the possibilities you and the team have inspired here. And Tim Rater! All of this is your idea! Thank you! I couldn’t help thinking about how it would be to be a kid again and get to study acting and singing and dancing here. To play an instrument or write a play, or a song, or an entire musical. This is soul-stirring stuff to ponder and appreciate. And it’s here for everyone and anyone. No matter who you are or where you’re from. It’s the future. Right here!
Oh, and in the months ahead, a beautiful, new restaurant on Galena Boulevard is coming along with it all, too! See ya on the boulevard!
Love & thanks,