White Cliff YES! We all need
a place to play!
By Tom LeCompte
September 23, 2006
I have read many letters lately that seem to think this whole
White Cliff idea is some kind of a knee jerk reaction by the
The Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council has been on a
dedicated search for a facility for the last seven years minimum
and the idea has been in the minds of everyone inolved for much
For at least twelve years the Seniors have been looking for a
new home. A larger space allows them to provide more and better
service to this fastest growing segment of our society.
The Ketchikan Theatre Ballet serves a couple hundred young ladies
(and men) each year, teaching a variety of styles of dance from
jazz and tap to formal ballet. we have all experienced their
wonderful productions over the years. Ask a member parent what
that costs. Their board feels being at White Cliff is preferable
to the very high rents they currently pay.
First City Players ( I am a Board of Governors member) has had
a stated goal of finding a home for OVER 40 YEARS. First City
Players is the2ND MOST HIGHLY RATED COMMUNITY THEATRE IN AMERICA.
This distinction is awarded based on our venues, amount of funding
we do (and don't) get to produce plays, vocal music, and also
our youth invovlement. (Elizabeth Nelson can provide more info
for those interested.)
The Main Street Theatre was a cute little box, but the space
was totally inadequate for long term usage. Going to Kayhi will
always be necessary for the great musicals we put on.....Oklahoma,
Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot,Peter Pan, Music Man, South
Pacific, etc etc...... but our working costs there tripled recently.
So even when we have hundreds of men, women and children in the
cast, orchestra, and crew, the costs of the production (in the
thousands) makes even breaking even a challenge at times.
SO.....we need a place to produce our smaller plays which we
still do in excellent style. High costs at Kayhi, along with
paying production rights, costs of set building, etc, actually
threaten our existence over the long term. (And we work very
well with Kayhi and the staff there.) We even rent storage for
our sets , scenery, and props eleven miles North of town because
no storage is available/affordable in town. The White Cliff Center
has storage built into the design.
The Arts Council and Gallery space will also be a tenant of the
site, and studios for artists, space for art classes, and gallery
display space are in the design.
Lest we forget...approximately 50 full time equivalent jobs are
provided by the Arts community here in Ketchikan. These artists,
many of whom teach classes as well, also need a place to utilize
and display their talents. Our local hospital even uses the active
arts community as a recruiting tool
NOW all this didn't just happen. The White Cliff Center has been
a focus for these groups for a couple years. Thousands of hours
of planning, conceptualizing, and designing have been spent by
all the groups and the architechts. The plans have been available,
meetings have been publicly held, and comments have been solicited
for over a year.
NONE of these groups could afford to do this project without
working together. No one gets in for free. Substantial amounts
of the budgets of all these groups will still go to rent/leases
and utility/operating costs. we would just have a home together.
As a former teacher, coach, and Activities co-ordinator, I support
all the endeavors for children be it softball, swimming, dance
or theatre. All these activities have their home places.
If you need more info, access the KAAHC and take a look at the
project, it's a big concept and interesting design.
It's time for the Arts Community to get a place to play.
Pleas join me in VOTING YES on October 3rd!
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: "Voting taxpaying
semiretired visitor industry employee who reads and thinks."
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