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About 35 turn out to discuss forming arts organization in Waynesboro area

March 22, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — An early meeting about an arts organization forming in the Waynesboro area generated feedback Thursday about youths, participation, exposure and existing resources.

“We’re really ready to go to the public and talk about the possibility of an arts alliance of the greater Waynesboro area,” said Andrew Sussman of the Cumberland Valley School of Music.

Vision 2015 hired a Kansas-based consultant, John Divine, to work on plans for an arts alliance.

“As a community, to be successful in anything you do, it has to be your decisions, your commitment and your buy-ins,” Divine said.

The turnout of about 35 people on a fair-weather day demonstrates a commitment to the arts, Divine said.

Audience members talked about the arts improving a community’s quality of life and creating broader awareness of the world. Some said an arts alliance should serve as a clearinghouse to promote events and partner with other, similar organizations in the area.

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The schools have facilities and need to be closely involved, and planning needs to include the next generation, meeting attendees said.

“Who is going to take it on after this group is gone?” asked Alan Smith, executive director of the Waynesboro Area YMCA.

Melodie Anderson-Smith of the Renfrew Institute said she would like to see more art downtown, including wall murals and sculptures. Others said a large building could be used for displays and demonstrations.

If retail businesses move out of a town, it is difficult to get them back, Divine said. However, reusing spaces for studios and galleries can be an economic driver, he said.

“If this is a good place to live, you don’t have to be out there selling and convincing them to come,” Divine said.

To learn more about the arts alliance, call Sussman at the Cumberland Valley School of Music at 717-261-1220.

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