Richard Biever — the most recent in a growing list of dismissed directors of the State Theatre — did not brandish a magic wand when he took over a theater saddled with debt.
He did, however, orchestrate theatrical programming for town and gown with an eye to entertaining as well as sustaining local community.
The CDT’s judgments about arts management are no less suspect than the State Theatre’s board.
In its belated, wan editorials about the arts, the CDT endorses playmaking after the fact. Rather than rehearse corporate buzzwords (“Results needed as the State changes course”), might the CDT consider what results the community actually seeks?
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Invoking recent Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association efforts to save the Garman Theatre, the editorial continues, “we warned that simply saving a site isn’t enough.”
What self-satisfaction the CDT must feel with that warning, now that we face the raw, devastated site in the middle of Bellefonte.
Nonprofits must manage their finances, certainly, and the State Theatre renovations produced a problematic debt burden. But the passive, patronizing tone of the CDT toward the future of arts and cultural organizations in Centre County is discordant with the willingness of county residents to support the arts in their community.
The board of directors of the State and the CDT should understand that a theater isn’t a sports team; management can’t keep firing coaches when they don’t magically produce a winning season.
Why not start reporting on the arts as if it were something other than a game?
Jonathan Eburne and Hester Blum, Bellefonte