When was the last time you attended an event that induced a full-range of emotions and spoke to all five senses?
We were lucky enough to be invited by Shu-Ling Zhao, The Capital Campaign Director of Sylvia Center for the Arts, to a private showing of An Iliad, an adaptation of the Greek classic performed solo by Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao, The Center’s Executive & Artistic Director.
The pre-funk party was in the welcoming alley of the studio theater and boasted pear and white pepper sangria, five different types of cider from the soon-to-open cidery, carbonated fruit (think strawberries and grapes), a stunning charcuterie plate, and lavender pickled beets, carrots, and onions. My take-away? If Shu-Ling is catering, make it top-priority to attend.
But enough about what we tasted and drank – the performance was the real show-stopper. The 90-minute solo performance required and elicited every emotion available, from happiness, to fear, to sadness – Glenn took us there and back in a 70-seat studio theater.
I have to say the feeling of watching a performance with others is unmatched – cannot be done at home, cannot be done in a movie-theater. I admit, I briefly looked away from Glenn to see the responses of my fellow-attendees and I’m so glad I did. Everyone was engaged, moved, and waiting for the next line. It was beautiful. I could feel the silence, the act of listening, and the roller coaster of emotions rushing throughout the room.
The show concluded with coffee, hand-made chocolates, and a tour of the in-progress main floor including the 160-seat main theater, a green room, two galleries, two bars, and a cafe. Also in the works are nonprofit office space, classrooms, a costume shop, video and photography studios, and a common room.
So, why is a digital marketing agency bragging about their lovely evening at the theater? Because we care about Whatcom County’s culture, about nonprofits, about small business owners like ourselves, about downtown Bellingham, about our own work-life balance and opportunities for entertainment, and lots of other stuff unrelated to this post. Our point is that we want to see this encouraging and uplifting organization thrive and help others in our community thrive, too.
As of September 2017, The Sylvia Center for the Arts is only 18% ($430,000) away from what they need to make their community boosting dream into a thriving reality. What I love about their donation programs is that they definitely answer the donor’s question “what’s in it for me?” with special discounts, your name displayed in one of their galleries or announced at playbills, and more.
The Sylvia Center for the Arts, formerly known as The iDiOM Theater, was christened after Sylvia Scholtz, a supporting patron who encouraged Glenn to take risks and create new things. The Center took that encouragement and ran with it.
The Center has been re-imagined and revamped in the historical Cascade Laundry Building in Bellingham’s Art District. It is a new, multi-disciplinary space for local artists and community members interested in music, theater, dance, writing, and more.
On a final side note, the geniuses at The Center are reprising Come With Me if You Want to Live, a musical tribute to The Terminator written by Kim Ross and Brendan Lebotz. Be sure to watch their calendar for this and many other refreshing performances.