“I can tell you, after having served for 30 years and having seen the worst conditions around the world, that this is a wonderful country, and it is because of our culture, our openness and the generosity of people like this, that I am able to serve and know it is appreciated. I look forward to a strong partnership with Blue Star Theatres.”
Colonel Loren J. Johnson, Commander, 140th Mission Support Group, Buckley Air Force Base
These moving words from Colonel Johnson were among the many highlights from our second Blue Star Theatres press announcement in Denver, CO, held in conjunction with the League of Resident Theatres meeting. Our Colorado Member Theatres turned out in force, with staff from Creede Repertory Theatre driving four hours each way to attend. They were joined by the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Curious Theatre Company, Theatre Aspen, THEATREWORKS-Colorado and our host, the Denver Center Theatre Company. We were especially honored when Sheri Lapan, senior director of programs at Blue Star Families, presented a letter from First Lady Michelle Obama. Blue Star Theatres now includes 63 participating Member Theatres from across the country!
That openness and generosity cited by Colonel Johnson are the cornerstones of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Center Stage tours. This program recognizes that, “diplomacy doesn’t just happen in conference rooms or at embassies,” and that the arts are central to advancing international dialogue. For instance, in 2012, the program brought artists hailing from cities ranging from Islamabad to Port-au-Prince to engage with U.S. audiences and artists. Nominations for the next round, concentrating on artists from Morocco, Tunisia, Pakistan and Vietnam, are due November 15, so visit their website to learn more.
We must also practice generosity within our own organizations, but that can be difficult in a time of strained budgets. Our Report: Employee Benefits Survey 2012 (PDF) conveys information on the various types of health, pension and disability plans offered by the 154 participating theatres. It also shares policies regarding paid leave, professional development opportunities and staff perks. Compare your own theatre’s practices with this research and make informed decisions on how best to support your human resources.