So last Thursday we got the most amazing surprise. Rich and Rosie went to the annual Mainstreet Indiana conference in Kokomo - about an hour away. (Mainstreet Indiana is an organization that works to mobilize communities with downtown areas that need revitalized.) Well, at the convention our theater and Rich and I were named the Indiana Mainstreet Business of the Year - for the small business that had the greatest impact on a downtown area. In the whole state of Indiana. We had NO idea it was happening - and it was all thanks to some amazing testimonials from some really wonderful people working behind our backs! In fact Rich wasn't even supposed to be at the convention that day and Rosie Wall and Janice had to kind of hijack him and get him out of his usual paint clothes. It sucked to not be there - but I was teaching all day. It's a huge deal for us – we also had a press conference type photo-op-thingy back here in Huntington on Monday so that the whole crew who was involved with the nomination could get together for a photo. A Motley Crew Makes the Paper!
But it was amazing to be recognized for the difference we are trying to make in the community and how hard Rich works at everything. But in particular, it's amazing that they recognized an artistic endeavor, rather than something that is more financially prosperous. We got some super-great facebook well-wishes - even from the President of Actor's Equity who had just given a TED talk on theater as an economic engine. As well as two great newspaper articles in the local papers.
Meanwhile in the lobby Janice seems to have enlisted some elves to help with the festive transformation from Summer to Christmas...
Over at the opera-house building there is some additional fantastic-ness. Rich managed to co-ordinate with all 3 owners of the block (years ago one giant building was split up into multiple properties - but they still share the same roof and walls), and they all applied for a Main Street matching grant and the whole building is in the process of getting painted. It's something Rich, Debbie, and Ann have been working at with the Arts Initiative for about 3 years now - and it's going to look so pretty. I'll have pictures for you soon!