As a longtime resident of Clackamas County, I am appalled that anyone would consider eliminating an arts department such as the Clackamas Community College Theatre Department, as reported earlier this month. The community and the country need artists and storytellers. They are already seriously neglected, if not abandoned. Other countries do not function this way; why can't we "have nice things" too? Don't give into the mentality that we don't need the arts.
I am the managing director of a small community theater in Milwaukie. We are a volunteer-run organization and work with a very small budget. We often ask high school and college-age students to be our technical crews on our shows. Without the training that students are able to acquire at Clackamas Community College's Theatre Department, we would be seriously constrained in our ability to produce shows. This does not even consider what such a tragedy would do to the pool of trained artists in our Portland community.
As a Portland-area artist, I have been heartened by the support I have seen from other actors, producers, directors, technicians and former CCC students. The disappointment and outrage that met this news has ignited both the artists among us and the supporters of the arts. We are sharing this terrible possibility among ourselves and to others outside the theater community, in the hope of inundating the CCC Administration with messages of support for the theatre department.
Please do not defund, eliminate or in any way reduce the theatre department. Retain the theatre department wholly, with full budget support and full department personnel.
Oak Grove resident Elisabeth Goebel is managing director for New Century Players, a community theater organization based in Milwaukie.
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