The Importance of Arts in a Community

By Ruth B. Marlatt

As the Mayor of a small community in Ohio, I would like to express how important it is for our town and many others to support the arts. Fayette is a village of about 1200 people. It is located 40 miles west of Toledo, Ohio, and about two miles from the Michigan line. We are most fortunate to have an Opera House that was built at the end of the 19th century, when William McKinley was President, which is a functioning part of the community. The Opera House offers a wide variety of programs. There are classes in the morning in drawing, puppetry, basket making, and other forms of the arts for children who are home schooled. There is a cooperative effort to work with our local school district to bring insightful and interesting programs, which meet or exceed the state standards, to the Opera House for school children to enjoy. The Opera House is the meeting place for the Chamber of Commerce, town meetings, and the senior citizens lunches and meals on wheels. In addition, there is the Fine Art Series of programs that are featured throughout the year. We are also very privileged to be the home of the only Reed Organ Series of programs in the area. Nationally recognized organ restorer, Don Glasgow, calls Fayette, home.

There are also special community events held at the Opera House. Santa comes each year and has many tiny people who come to see him. There are several performances each year that showcase the talents of local musicians and singers. There are also plays that are put on by the Opera House Players. In the winter there are regular gatherings of the Bean Creek Coffee House. This is a way to get together and have a bite to eat and listen to a variety of people who play instruments, sing songs, recite poetry, and tell stories. These gatherings are a popular time to reconnect.

Why is all of this important?

  • The restored Opera House is a major historical landmark in our community.
  • The programs mentioned above bring in many people of all ages.
  • Our Reed Organ Series features performers from all over the world who enjoy coming to our small community and using the historical facility.
  • The regular series of programs brings people from Michigan and Ohio who come together to be entertained.
  • We like to have people visit our community. We also benefit by having them use our local businesses for food and fuel and a night’s stay. In return they appreciate our authentic rural hospitality.
  • Through these presentations, our community benefits monetarily and our citizens are exposed to a cultural experience right here at home. It is the accessibility of these experiences that promotes our community’s reputation as forward thinkers.

We are definitely fortunate to have the strong arts programs that we do. This is only possible because of the dedication of the Fine Arts Council and its supporters made up of volunteers who work very hard to provide quality programs that feature a wide range of talents and gifted people. Many people look forward to the programs that are available at the Opera House. It is a great place to celebrate good talent, eat good food, and visit with interesting people. What a delightful way to spend an evening. If you want to truly understand this phenomenal experience, come visit Fayette, Ohio, and I will be happy to show you around.

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