The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 39
Chris Morrill: "Stronger
Pat Wilhelms: "The arts will
run like any other business:
Roanoke and Virginia Tech."
nightlife and award-winning restaurants. Of
course, the easy access to the outdoors will
continue to be a big draw. Roanoke's green
spaces and parks will be known as the best
in Virginia. With high-speed rail connecting
Roanoke to all the major cities on the east
coast and I-73 completed, our city will be
easy to get to."
The regional economy,
while still supporting
a manufacturing base,
will be driven by health
care, research, and
will be recognized for
its talented and diverse
as well as the strong
local food movement.
Its arts and cultural
scene will be
unsurpassed for a city
adapt or die."
ARTS: ADAPT OR DIE
PAT WILHELMS, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ROANOKE
Wilhelms left Mill Mountain Theatre a few
years ago in an artistic dispute and rather
than pout, she started her own children's
theater, which has thrived. Here's what she
expects in 40 years:
"I think the state of the arts in Roanoke
40 years from now will be just like it is in
any other city of similar size in America.
Creative, passionate people who believe that
the arts hold a mirror up to their community,
engage their audiences, challenge patrons to
reflect and think about their behavior and
attitudes in order to create positive change,
will continue to find a way to do so.
"However, the way they actually accomplish
that more than likely will be vastly different.
As funding sources shrink, competition for
donors increases, and resources get smaller,
the 'high arts' or 'arts in the ivory towers' will
also shrink, making it impossible to present
artful experiences in the same elaborate way.
And we probably won't want to anyway.
"Waste materials? Use something once?
Need space to store sets, costumes, props?
Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on
one event? Are you crazy? Not in 2054. Art
forms may not even look the same.
"As we see the digital age take over more
and more, it can't help but influence our art
and even more importantly, us. Interactive
that dissolves the
boundaries of art and
become the new norm.
art that dissolves the boundaries of art
and audience, smarter more efficient art
programming I think, will become the new
norm. However, as technology grows and the
threat of becoming more and more insular
grows, the need to be more deeply connected
with each other will grow. And the arts do
this better than any other force.
"We will continue to need creative problem
solvers. We will continue to need to tell our
stories, we will continue to need each other
and do what the arts do best: share what it is
like to be human. The organizations that will
survive are the ones that can adapt. There was
a time when the arts were not expected to run
like a business, but the times will continue to
change and like any other business you either
adapt or die.
"The organizations that survive are the
ones that adapt." I