The Paramount Visual Arts Center — Here to Serve You

The Education and Outreach Department at the Paramount is the newest addition to programming at the Center. It grew out of a part-time experiment to see if such a division would be of value to both the Paramount and to the community. Well, it didn’t take long to determine that there was plenty of work that could be done. For many years, the Paramount was a wonderful place for people who could get to the facility and were able to pay for events or classes. To be sure, work had been done here to provide low-cost performances with the 101 Series on the stage and with scholarships in the Visual Arts Center, but it was not difficult to find those in our community who simply did not have adequate access to quality arts experiences. While we knew the arts belong to all, it was clear they were not accessible to all. And why, you might ask, is that important? Well, it can be hard to explain because the arts are woven so tightly into our lives that we might not even recognize their presence. Music on the radio, flowers in the park, the way we dress our bodies, arrange our furniture or plate our food are all personal creative expressions. Truly, we are all artists! Our creative spirit shows itself in daily choices but is fortified and nurtured with opportunities to engage deeply in artful experiences. You see, the arts are the highest form of communication! We can use words, pictures, movement, structures and sound to convey thoughts and ideas, but it is the arts – dance, music, painting, movie-making, architecture, photography, drama, sculpture, literature, poetry and more – that take us to the highest level of human expression. We may never become a Picasso or a Maya Angelou or an Ansel Adams, but in taking the risk to try, we refine our own humanity. And so it has been a privilege for the Paramount to build an amazing cadre of local artists, provide training for them where needed, and collaborate with other arts organizations to bring quality arts experiences to limited populations – the elderly, those with disabilities, those who have experienced abuse and trauma, or are new to our country and its culture. The stories abound of joy, capacity, and confidence that have sprung from the many ways we have taken the arts from the Paramount to those who want and need the opportunity but can’t come to us. Through the gifts of community members and grant funds, hundreds of good people have been nurtured in body and soul through the arts. We also provide meaningful, relevant workshops for school students, businesses, churches, and organizations. Social workers needing to build their team spirit, agencies needing to get everyone united around a new mission statement, and businesses trying to integrate new employees have all found value in coming to the Paramount for time to reflect in new ways and create together. They leave changed in very good ways! The Paramount is truly a Center for the Arts. We invite you to come and explore the ways we can be of service to you.

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