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My Turn

August 10, 2009

My Turn: Much on the horizon for Foothills Center

This week’s “My turn” column is by Jennifer McDowall, executive director of Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta.

Picture the horizon. Actual. Symbolic. It is a signature of all that we imagine. It guides us. It is the very definition of distance, yet because it is so present, so real, it is “know-able” and therefore achievable.

It is featureless at its farthest, and yet infinitely complex as we approach. It exists for us all, yet we experience it from our individual perspectives.

The horizon forms such an apt metaphor for any kind of dream, aspiration, ambition or hope. Our community houses many worthy aspirations. There are little horizons all over town. The Foothills Performing Arts Center is one of them.

As it is with so many transformative moments and transformative ideas, it is difficult to determine authorship.

The Foothills horizon has been defined and measured and tweaked by so many visionaries: Peter Macris, who galvanized immeasurable effort on behalf of this project; many artists and performing arts groups in the area who, collectively and individually, commit themselves to the importance of the arts in our lives; Doug Reeser and Norm Davies, who coerced the Foothills facility into being; Rick and Michelle Eastman, whose company so lovingly and exactingly wrestled notion into reality; many dedicated employees and generous volunteers, among whom I am one.

We have all been plodding, careening and dancing toward this horizon and, yet, even as it is coming into view, it remains elusive.

We are not deterred. We are moving forward with gusto, as the economy shudders and hiccups and all kinds of enterprise falters.

We’re fixed on that horizon and on our mission of providing experiences that change people, that make us all more human, bring us joy, reassure us, enlighten us, surprise or puzzle us.

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