If one had 20/20 vision into the future, planning ahead would be a much less difficult procedure. Although one can never know what the future holds, uncertainties seem much more prominent and profound during this era of COVID-19. Individuals are struggling to cope with not knowing what will happen next in almost every aspect of their lives; likewise, arts organizations are trying to plan for upcoming events while not knowing whether venues will be open or closed, or if audiences will be allowed to gather in large groups, or if artists will be willing and able to travel. Not being able to see into the future is always frustrating, but right now that lack is bringing much of our society to a standstill.
All of which makes Darke County Center for the Arts’ theme for its planned upcoming season pretty ironic; DCCA’s 2020 theme, based on the year and perfect eyesight being one and the same, is “Vision.” Foresight into where our society will stand as the worldwide pandemic takes its toll would be vastly appreciated, but cannot be known. A clear view of what to expect would greatly simplify decision-making, but the outlook is foggy at best. Perceptions of future audiences’ preferences and responses are always a guessing game, but now a game without clear rules and boundaries.
As you probably know, DCCA officials have announced cancelation of 2019-2020 season events through April 30 while most Ohioans are “sheltering in place.” The highly anticipated return of Toledo Symphony Orchestra to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall is very much up in the air as we all wait with bated breath to see what happens next in the battle against the spread of the deadly virus. And the hullabaloo surrounding announcement of the new season has been tamped down exponentially while we all await whatever happens next.
I can tell you that a vision of creative delight has been planned for 2020/2021, with a wide range of music and theatre to inspire hope and joy among audiences of all ages. Whether any or all of that inventive plan will come to pass is, of course, unknown at this moment in time. If all goes well, hundreds of local citizens will gather on the lawn of Greenville Public Library on July 10 for DCCA’s fun-filled season kick-off fundraiser “Barbecue and Blues” where, if all goes as planned, one of the world’s great blues guitarists will take the stage demonstrating his amazing talents. And, if things come off as scheduled, on July 27 the little red truck from Missoula Children’s Theatre will pull into St. Clair Memorial Hall with everything needed to create in one short week a fully-realized production of Sleeping Beauty starring around 60 local students.
DCCA plans to open ticket sales for the 2020/2021 “Vision” season around the first of June, as usual; except, of course, things might not go as usual. Right now, stages are quiet, seats are empty. But planning must proceed whether or not our vision of the future is clouded by uncertainty; continuing community support of our local arts council through this disruptive time will help us get through to a day when we can more clearly see what lies ahead.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.