The Arts - A Small Town Must Have

“Politicians don’t bring people together. Artists do.”
Richard Daley, former Mayor of Chicago
Photo courtesy of The City of York

Photo courtesy of The City of York

What gives a small town its charm?

A picturesque town square complete with annual family friendly events?  A local coffee shop owner blasting out a jubilant “Hello!” when entering?  A public school system with a storied track record of excellence?  A slower-pace of life?

While each are superb components in their own rights there is another noteworthy contributor.  I would contend the infusion of art, culture, and entertainment weaves together facets of small-town-flavor into a blend of charming community.  Within the enjoyment of the performing arts we relish opportunity to learn, to spotlight incredible local talent, to be entertained, to establish and strengthen a community’s identity.  Through local entertainment, we find charm and a delightfully meaningful quirkiness building upon the attractiveness of a family destination.  It is the bringing of people together, reminding us of who we are and why we’re fortunate to call this place home.

Simply put:  The arts makes our communities better as much as it grants we patrons and participants moments of laughter, escape, and inspiration.

Our beloved York seems to proudly shine a unicorn-like-status in both its capacity for cultivating talented artists / performers while producing indelibly high-quality productions of a varietal sort.  A feat of this magnitude thriving within a small rural community is as rare as it is fantastic.  

The Yorkshire Playhouse is a fixture of the small-town-life we treasure.

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It is a testament to the valuing of art, culture, education, and collaboration.  It is a pillar of the community championing the lasting efforts of countless artists, volunteers, and visionaries as they invested valuable time and talents in making York shine.  It is a reminder that opting for local live entertainment enhances the community in ways no other medium can touch.  Indeed, the local community theatre is woven into the fabric of countless small towns proving that high-quality art is not only achievable in such locales, but enjoyed and celebrated year after year.

Throughout my small scope of experiences, I’ve had the pleasure to participate in or view the works of creative masters like Tennessee Williams, Mel Brooks, Annie Baker, Lewis Carroll, Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis, and more.  As a gracious previous recipient of the playhouse scholarship and a YP participant that touched parts of my life in three separate decades--I cannot imagine how utterly different and lacking my community and educational endeavors would have been without such rich experiences.  Between the bringing-to-life of original work, the children’s theatre program, the annual holiday show, summer musicals, and much much more, we have seen our small town enlivened to a euphoric degree.  It truly is a marvel to consider how much theatre’s presence has contributed to making a small Nebraska town so special.

I love York because of the thriving existence of The YP.  I love The YP because it enhances the York experience immeasurably.  I love that I’m granted an opportunity to invest in a community and an organization that recognizes the rare and wonderful gift it has in the annual season of productions.  It’s easy to take for granted or underestimate; yet, astounding to consider how much vibrant color and memories and good the beautiful marriage of York and theatre has crafted.

We, fellow Yorkites, art lovers, and even casual patrons, are fortunate and grateful.


Cover photo courtesy of Bob DeHart Photography.