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LTC Launches Theater Renaissance Campaign

Lincoln Trail College has launched the Theater Renaissance campaign which aims to modernize and possibly expand the Zwermann Arts Center.

From the beginning, the performing arts have been an important part of the educational mission of the college. “The Zwermann Arts Center has had a dramatic impact on the lives of countless residents,” says LTC President Ryan Gower.  “It is a hub for musicians, dancers, thespians, and artists.  More than two thousand people of all ages attend the Lincoln Trail College Foundation concerts every year.  Thousands more engage in our community theater, children’s summer theater productions, or take voice and instrument lessons.”

Over the summer, a steering committee was formed to identify the critical needs and to prioritize the work necessary to modernize the Zwermann Arts Center to ensure that future generations of students and community members would be able to benefit from its continued operation. 

Led by Jim Rodgers, this committee held several meetings, consulted with area production companies, and sought input from various LTC staff and community members who are knowledgeable about the theater.  The needs were found to be many and wide-ranging – from modernizing curtains, risers, dressing rooms and the stage lighting to making the choral room a space that is conducive to both practices and instruction.  The need for additional space that could be used for production and storage of sets, props, music stands, and risers was identified as the most urgent need.  It became clear that the college could address some of these needs through the normal budget processes, but that many of the projects would only be realized with the generous support of our local community.  The steering committee has set a goal and a target date for achieving it.  In just two short years, Lincoln Trail College will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.  Over the next two years, the Theater Renaissance campaign will seek to raise sufficient funds to address both the immediate and long-term needs of our cultural arts program.

The first phase of the project will address some of the immediate needs of the theater, including modernizing curtains, risers, stage lighting, and sound equipment. The first phase also aims to address making the choral room a space that is conducive to both practices and instruction.

In the month since the campaign officially launch, more than $50,000 has been raised. That includes a matching lead gift from the United Way of $10,000. Corporate donations have come from Marathon and Hershey to help with the campaign. The first phase of the campaign has a $180,000 goal.

Gower says there’s no question why a vibrant cultural arts program at Lincoln Trail College is so important. “Decades of research indicates that those who play an active role in the arts demonstrate superior levels of creative thinking, problem-solving, self-expression, risk-taking, self-esteem, and cooperation.  For these reasons, the arts continue to be an important part of our mission and the Zwermann Arts Center is a place where the arts come alive for Crawford County.”

Performers like Dan Dix are talking about how the arts at Lincoln Trail College have impacted them personally. “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am in my professional career without that confidence and talent that LTC has instilled in me over the years. Nothing beats entertaining this community and allowing the people you love to relax and forget about their troubles just for a little while, all while continuing on an amazing tradition of Crawford County arts.”

People that want to make a donation to the project can make contributions to the Lincoln Trail College Foundation.

Download a pledge card.

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