MCCC Creates Writing Course Just For Military Veterans

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Area military veterans now have a creative outlet to share their experiences with people who understand them best – fellow veterans. 

This fall, the Montgomery County Community College West Campus in Pottstown will offer a new course, English 265 HYBW2, also known as Intro to Creative Writing for Veterans. The course is limited to guest veterans from the community and current MCCC veteran students. 

The three-credit course, which was created by Susan Buchler, assistant professor of English; and Denise Williams, veterans’ resource specialist, will be held on alternating Monday evenings. The workshop setting of the course will include sharing written work such as creative non-fiction, short stories and poetry, and discussing select pieces of literature that are relevant to the course theme – freedom through writing. The course also includes an online component.  

“Back in civilian life, veterans often find there is no place to put memories and experiences and no one to share them with except others who’ve had similar experiences,” said Williams. “Through writing comes the most fascinating, heartfelt poetic work that is engaging and liberating.” 

Buchler, who has had several veterans in her writing courses at MCCC over the years, said the philosophy of the course is to help make the process of writing less threatening, and to create an atmosphere for veterans where there is a shared bond and trust. 

“This course will allow veterans writers to evolve at a unique comfort level,” Buchler said. “Writing about their experiences gives them the opportunity to find their voice and express their deepest feelings and emotions. Studies have shown that, through writing, an individual can find freedom, peach of mind, improved mood and all together healing.” 

The 15-week course runs from August 30 through December 19 and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in South Hall 249 on the MCCC West Campus at 101 College Drive in Pottstown. For more information contact Williams at dwilliam2@mc3.edu or Buchler at sbuchler@mc3.edu. To register, visit http://bit.ly/2oud0Qs. 

Montgomery County Community College is recognized by Military Times as a Best for Vets College, and G.I. Jobs magazine named MCCC a Silver Medal Military Friendly school. The Veterans Resource Center at MCCC, with offices on the Central Campus in Blue Bell and on the West Campus in Pottstown, serves more than 450 veterans, service members and spouse/dependents with their transition to college.  

About Montgomery County Community College 
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.  

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu. 

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Five Free Programs For Kids And Teens At ArtFusion 19464

Pottstown, PA – Applications are now being accepted for five fun and free summer programs for kids and teens at ArtFusion 19464. Each program has been generously sponsored by The Greater Pottstown Foundation. These programs will take place at ArtFusion 19464’s new facility at the Beech St Factory (341 Beech St.).

Kids 8 to 12 can choose from Art Academy, a general arts exploration class, and Clay Academy, where students focus on pottery.  Older students ages 13 to 17 can participate in Teen Clay Studio, with a focus on independent pottery projects; Teen Mixed Media Studio, where students explore a variety of mediums with a great line up of instructors; or Poetry in Process, a new program focusing on poetry, song, music and storytelling.

The application deadline for these programs is May 31, 2017. Applications can be downloaded at artfusion19464.org/classes/scholarshipsprograms/. Interested parents can also stop by 254 E. High St. to pick up a paper copy.  Spaces will be filled on a first come, first served basis. While ArtFusion 19464 encourages everyone who is interested to apply, those students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and those who have not attended a free program at ArtFusion 19464 before will be given priority.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center currently located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills and independence through self-expression. ArtFusion 19464’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.

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Lehigh Valley Arts Council – Arts Alive Series!

Join us in exploring the “intimacy of space” as imagined by a landscape architect, captured in a musical salon, and depicted in the wearable art of a metalsmith. Expand your appreciation for the arts by attending one (or all three) of our Arts Alive offerings!

Members Enjoy a Discount with Arts Alive Series Ticket

Enjoy all three 2017 Arts Alive events for the price of $60 (savings of $15)!

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Garden-Design-Inc-image

How Does Your Garden Show?

Saturday, April 29, 2017
11 am – 12:30 pm
Garden Design, Inc.

PURCHASE TICKETS

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Music of Friends

Saturday, June 17, 2017
11 am – 12:30 pm
Home of Janet & Malcolm Gross

PURCHASE TICKETS

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TheSwirl Collection by LorettaTryon

Wearable Sculpture

Sunday, October 15, 2017
11 am – 12:30 pm
Studio of Loretta Tryon

PURCHASE TICKETS

ArtFusion 19464 Announces Addition Of New Staff

Pottstown, PA – ArtFusion 19464 is proud to announce that Laura Cousins-Washington has joined their staff as Development Coordinator of the Beech Street Factory Community Programs. As Development Coordinator, Washington is responsible for identifying and engaging the nonprofit organization’s local business and community partners, members and their families, and other funders and constituents to build and maintain a broad and growing base of annual support, grant funding, and endowment funding.

Executive Director and Co-Founder Erika-Hornburg Cooper said: “We are so happy to welcome Laura officially as staff. We know she will have a big impact on our future, helping ArtFusion 19464 to grow and transition our educational programming to a new facility in the Beech St. Factory.”

Previously Laura Cousins-Washington worked as Garden Manager of MOSAIC Community Land Trust Community Gardens, located in the Borough of Pottstown, for the past four years. Her goal at MOSAIC was to engage families, volunteers and supporters in order to spread the word about gardening, fitness, healthy eating and healthy lifestyles choices. Washington has overseen the development of two community gardens located on Chestnut Street and one permaculture garden located on Walnut Street. She is also a personal fitness trainer at Pottstown Athletic Club and Body Go Fitness and works as the coordinator for Schuylkill River Athletics.  Washington has a good understanding the needs of the community as it relates to empowering individuals. Washington coaches children and adults of all ages throughout the year in personal fitness, gardening/nutrition and in making healthier, long-term behavior changes.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion 19464’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. Classes do run outside of gallery hours.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Embarks On 37th Theatrical Season

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre at Muhlenberg College announces the lineup for its 37th summer season. The season will feature the revolutionary rock musical “Hair,” the classic “My Fair Lady,” and “Wild,” a new modern circus production for all ages.

“Hair” opens the season, running June 14 – July 2. A celebration of freewheeling 1960s youth counterculture, “Hair” commemorates the 50th anniversary of its original Broadway run.

“My Fair Lady,” running July 12-30, was the 1957 Tony Award-winning Best Musical. Lerner and Loewe’s beloved musical features a score that includes such standards as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Rain in Spain.”

“Wild,” running June 28 – July 29, is a world premiere modern circus performance for audiences of all ages, featuring aerial acrobatics, clowning, spectacle, and a touch of magic. The show is recommended for adults and children ages 3 and older.

A free 45-minute circus-themed activity workshop follows each performance of “Wild.” Participation is limited, and advance registration through the box office is recommended. Evening workshops will focus on circus skills for all ages. Daytime workshops are geared toward children and will focus on storytelling and play through circus activities.

Tickets and information are available at muhlenberg.edu/SMT and 484-664-3333.

Join the Age of Aquarius and celebrate the freewheeling counterculture of the 1960s in “Hair.” Passionate, outspoken Claude must choose between submitting to the draft and continuing to fight the establishment through pacifist lifestyle. Joining him is a “tribe” of non-conformists who believe in the power of free speech and free love as they groove to the music, including beloved 1960s hits “Good Morning Starshine” and “Let the Sunshine In.” Director James Peck returns to MSMT following last season’s production of “In the Heights.” He is reunited with musical director Ed Bara and choreographer Samuel Antonio Reyes.

“My Fair Lady” tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl in training to become a lady of society. At first, her lessons with phonetics professor Henry Higgins could not be more frustrating, but their squabbles eventually foster an unlikely partnership — Eliza and Higgins realize they have a lot to learn from each other. MSMT founding artistic director Charles Richter will direct the production. Ed Bara serves as musical director, and Karen Dearborn choreographs.

Atlas Circus Company’s world-premiere modern circus production “Wild” presents the story of a boy who runs away on an adventure through the unknown. Throughout his journey, he meets unusual characters that teach him about love, family, and what it means to be home. The show is designed for audiences of all ages, and incorporates elements of aerial acrobatics, juggling, magic, dance, theater, and clowning.

Relaxed performances of “Wild” will be presented on Saturday, July 8th at 10 am and Thursday, July 13th at 1 pm. The relaxed performances will be followed by an interactive workshop. Relaxed performances are designed for children with autism and other sensory challenges. At these performances, sound levels are reduced, and startling sounds are avoided; lights remain on at a low level during performance, and strobes and other flashy lights are omitted; patrons are free to talk or leave their seats during the show; and attendance is limited. Social stories will be available in advance from the MSMT website and the theater staff and cast will receive special training in meeting the needs of patrons with autism and sensory issues.

Audio Description and Open Captioning will be available for all three productions: “Hair” on Sunday, June 25; “My Fair Lady” on Sunday, July 23; and “Wild” on Thursday, July 20, at 10 a.m. Call 484-664-3087 for tickets in the accessible section of these performances.

“Hair” runs June 14 – July 2; “My Fair Lady” runs July 12-30. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices for both “Hair” and “My Fair Lady” are as follows. For the first four performances: $35 regular admission; seniors, $31; students and children, $20. For the rest of the performances: $41 regular admission; seniors, $37; students and children, $24.

“Wild” runs June 28 through July 29. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. All tickets to “Wild” are $11 for the first week of performances and $13 for remaining performances.

Subscriptions and group rates are available at a discount. Contact the box office or refer to the website for details.

Tickets and information are available at www.muhlenberg.edu/SMT or 484-664-3333.

‘The Cherry Orchard’ At Muhlenberg

ALLENTOWN, PA — Anton Chekhov’s prescient drama “The Cherry Orchard” will soon take the stage at Muhlenberg College, illuminating the class struggles that permeated early 20th century Russia — which, in turn, illuminate the class struggles of today.

“‘The Cherry Orchard’ captures the full complexity of progress and what it means to live through changing times,” says director and Muhlenberg theater faculty member Matthew Moore. “It is at the same time ordinary and supremely poetic.”

The Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department will present “The Cherry Orchard,” in a new version by American playwright Stephen Karam, in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, April 26-29.

“I think the play is ultimately about the human condition and our resilience in the face of life’s disappointments,” says Holly Cate, another theater faculty member, who plays the role of Lyubov Ranevskaya.

As Russia hurtles toward revolution at the start of the 20th century, a widowed aristocrat returns home after years abroad to her family’s estate, which is on the verge of financial ruin. Faced with the prospect of losing their beautiful cherry orchard and the world it seemed to represent, she and her brother cast about for a path forward — but they are too deeply immersed in memories and lost dreams of their youth to take control of their shifting fortunes.

A bittersweet story of love, loss, and social change, Chekhov’s last play offers a rich tapestry of characters, interwoven with poignant nostalgia and wry commentary on a society on the brink of upheaval.

“Chekhov plainly foresaw the coming revolution,” Moore says. “His characters encounter the coming change with different attitudes — some with naive optimism, some with an entrepreneurial spirit, some in mourning.”

Moore believes the anxieties at the heart of this play are contemporary.

“This feels like today’s America in many respects,” Moore says. “It’s hard to know if things are getting better or if everything’s going to hell in a handbasket. Progress and catastrophe seem intertwined.”

One of Russia’s best-known playwrights, Chekhov wrote “The Cherry Orchard in 1903. It premiered in Moscow the following year, after his death, helmed by renowned director and theatrical innovator Konstantin Stanislavski.

Chekhov pioneered theatrical naturalism — having his actors perform the everyday instead of the fantastic; the Russian public was used to romanticism, in which a more fantastical style of performance was much more common. Chekhov wanted audiences to experience honesty and realism when they came to the theater.

“The idea that nothing happens in Chekhov’s plays is totally false. Everything happens,” says Cate. “It’s life onstage. Affairs begin and end, familial relationships are torn and then repaired, people die, they are mourned, and communities rebuild.”

While Chekhov incorporated elements of his own life into all of his work, “The Cherry Orchard” is his most autobiographical play. When he was a teenager, his family’s beloved cherry orchard was cut down — his mother was tricked by contractors into selling the family territory.

“Every day in rehearsal you discover something true about the play that you didn’t know,” Moore says. “There’s no imagining circumstances here, only excavating truths.”

The production uses a celebrated new version by award-winning playwright Stephen Karam, written in an American vernacular and style, which debuted last year on Broadway. This is the first collegiate production of Karam’s adaptation.

“It’s so much funnier and more alive in the body than it is on the page,” Cate says. “I hope people understand how amazing it is that we are able to work with this new version.”

Karam won a Tony Award for Best Play for “The Humans” in 2016 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “The Humans” and “Sons of the Prophet.”

“‘The Cherry Orchard’ deserves a fresh presentation,” says Cate. “We are very lucky to be able to give it new life.”

“The Cherry Orchard” runs April 26-29. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8.

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Baker Theatre in Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance.

‘Dance Emerge’ at Muhlenberg

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College dancers tell their stories through movement, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Departmentpresents “Dance Emerge,” a showcase for dance works created by emerging choreographers, April 19-22.

“Dance Emerge” will be performed in the college’s intimate Studio Theatre, a black box performance space with seating on three sides of the performance. Randall Anthony Smith is the artistic director for the concert.

 “This concert is configured where the audience is encapsulating the performance space,” Smith says. “From three distinct view points, each audience member is able to get a closer look at how the performers are moving and evolving. This year’s concert surely will have you thinking about who you are and how you relate to the world.”

“Dance Emerge” will showcase 7 choreographers and 37 dancers from the department’s dance program, which is among the most highly regarded programs of its kind. The concert features design work by the department’s acclaimed professional staff: costume designer Lex Gurst and lighting designer Paul E. Theisen Jr.

The seven original dances include contemporary, jazz, and modern works that investigate such topics as death, family relationships, and the convergence of past, present, and future.

“Dance Emerge” runs April 19-22 in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

 Performances are April 19-22: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 22, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for patrons 17 and under, and $8 for students, faculty and staff of all LVAIC colleges.  For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $13.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.

Free Grant Writing Workshops Offered By Lehigh Valley Arts Council In 2017

In an effort to assist applicants with the 2017-18 Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream grant application process, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council will offer free grant writing workshops in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties in May of 2017.

“The PPA program initiative is a critical source of state and federal funding for eligible individuals, community groups and nonprofit organizations interested in conducting arts projects with a clear public component,” stated Randall Forte, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “As the regional partner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, we have accepted as many as 60 requests in any given year, awarding grants to community projects including, but not limited to exhibitions, films and performances that impact a wide range of constituents from young children to senior citizens, regardless of ability, ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic status.”

The keys to successfully navigating the Project Stream application process lie in a deeper understanding of content, format and fiscal expectations set forth in the grant guidelines by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. By attending one of the workshops, applicants will gain a thorough understanding of review criteria, suggestions for constructing compelling and comprehensive narratives and guidance in building detailed project budgets.

Applicants are encouraged to RSVP and attend one of the following workshops:

May 4, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation; 20 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA, 18229

May 9, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Lehigh Valley Arts Council; 840 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA. 18101

May 16, 2017 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Arts Establishment; 945 Broadway, Fountain Hill, PA, 18015

For more information regarding this opportunity, please contact:
Zach Kleemeyer, Community Engagement Coordinator
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
ppa@lvartscouncil.org | 610-437-5915

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

Montgomery County Studio Tour!! In Pottstown!!!

The first Montgomery County Studio Tour will take place on Saturday June 10, 2017 from 10 AM to 6 PM, and Sunday June 11, 2017 from 11 AM to 5 PM.

The Montgomery County Studio Tour was created to promote regional artists and contribute to the cultural vitality of Montgomery County, by presenting original and diverse artwork in creative working studio settings.  54 artists in different mediums such as painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, clay, glass, paper and fiber will showcase their work in 20 studios across Montgomery County.  Many studios on the Tour will feature works-in-progress and artist demonstrations.

We invite art enthusiasts and the curious to experience a rare glimpse into the variety of outstanding art of Montgomery County as these professional artists exhibit their work during this unique and intimate two-day event.  All of the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and meet buyers and browsers alike.  Whether this is your first time buying art or you are a seasoned collector, this tour has something for everyone, in a wide range of mediums and prices.

Visitors are encouraged to design their own self-guided tour with the catalogue and map, which can be downloaded from www.MontgomeryCountyStudioTour.com. You can start with the studio closest to you, or anywhere you like, by using the convenient map and website.

We are continuing the “County Collector Series” well-known from the Chester County Studio Tour.  This is an opportunity to collect an original framed 6” x 6” piece of art for the special pricing of $75.  Our two-dimensional artists have created an original work of art in a simple and elegant 6” x 6” frame, and our three-dimensional artists have also created special pieces for this Collector Series.  A photo of each work in this series is included in our catalogue and may also be seen on the website.

This first Montgomery County Studio Tour was created by Jeff Schaller, painter and tour organizer, on the same model as his well received and extremely successful Chester County Studio Tour, which is in its 8th year.

Free and open to the public.  Please visit website www.montgomerycountystudiotour.com for map, artists and studio listings and for catalogue.  Handicapped accessible studios are marked on the studio pages in the catalogue and on the website. Please email info@countystudiotour.com or call 610.942.9629 for further information.

Montgomery County Community College To Provide Student Housing – At Gwynedd Mercy University

Dormitory at Gwynedd Mercy University

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College recently signed an agreement with Gwynedd Mercy University to provide housing for MCCC students.

Through the agreement, which was signed in December, MCCC students can select to live on campus at Gwynedd Mercy for the same room and board rates that University students pay. MCCC, which is on Route 202 in Blue Bell, Pa., is less than four miles from the University, located on Sumneytown Pike in Gwynedd Valley, Pa.

According to Philip Needles, vice president for student services at MCCC, the College receives inquiries each year, especially from international students and culinary arts students, about the availability of student housing.

“I think this a winning partnership for both MCCC and Gwynedd Mercy University, and a great example of how local institutions can work together to address students’ needs,” Needles said.

Danielle Gross, director of public affairs for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community College, said she believes the agreement is unique in the Commonwealth. “Articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year institutions are common, but we don’t know of any other such agreement related to student housing,” Gross said.

Currently, the College serves 178 international students from 51 different countries, especially in programs such as culinary arts and business. International students who have enrolled at MCCC in the past have had to seek off-campus housing in the area which can be cost prohibitive.

The College hopes to increase enrollment by providing student housing at Gwynedd Mercy University, but the housing option will be open to all students who choose to experience that aspect of college life.

Gwynedd Mercy University sees the agreement as an opportunity to further strengthen its relationship with MCCC and attract more transfer students from the local two-year college with which it has an articulation agreement. The housing agreement will also provide an additional revenue stream for the University. The cost of room and board at Gwynedd Mercy ranges from $5,570 per semester for housing and a 10-meal plan to $6,270 per semester for a 19-meal plan for the 2017-18 academic year.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to offer Montgomery County Community College students an affordable and convenient way to experience all the benefits of living on a college campus,” said Cheryl Lynn Horsey, Ph.D., vice president for enrollment and student services at Gwynedd Mercy University. “Students who choose to take advantage of this option will have access to all the co-curricular programming offered to GMercyU students, including on-campus events, service opportunities, and our very popular and growing intramural sports and recreation program.”

The agreement also provides MCCC students with an excellent path forward to any number of baccalaureate degrees offered at Gwynedd Mercy University, Horsey added. “Essentially, students can live on campus all four years, spending their first two years taking classes at MCCC and the next two years taking classes at GMercyU.”

About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes nearly 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.

About Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy University prepares students to become top professionals in the fields of business and education, nursing and other health professions, and the arts and sciences. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1948, Gwynedd Mercy University is a Catholic, co-educational institution offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The University’s Main Campus is situated on 160 beautiful private acres in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, just 30 minutes from Philadelphia. The University also offers online/accelerated degree programs for working adults with campuses conveniently located in East Norriton, Philadelphia and Bensalem. Learn more at gmercyu.edu, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Montgomery County Community College High School Completion Program Earns National Honor

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA — A Montgomery County Community College program designed to make sure struggling high school students do not slip through the cracks of the education system has earned a national honor.

The Gateway to College program at MCCC is one of only eight programs nationwide to receive the Excellence Award from the Gateway to College National Network. The Network includes more than 40 programs at community colleges throughout the country.

Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or are significantly off track complete their high school diplomas at college-based programs such as the one at MCCC while simultaneously earning college credits toward a post-secondary degree or certificate.

Currently, the Gateway to College Program at MCCC serves 45 students from 18 school districts in Montgomery and surrounding counties. Established at MCCC in 2013, the program has help 83 students earn their high school diplomas and matriculate at MCCC.

To achieve the award, the MCCC program surpassed established benchmarks in all four categories including first-term grades, one-year persistence, two-year persistence and graduation rate, according to Gateway to College National Network President Emily Froimson.

“Your program is an exemplar for all of our partners and high school reengagement programs across the country,” Froimson wrote. “We are encouraged by your success and look to your program to be a model and a leader within our network.”

Keima Sheriff, director of the MCCC Gateway to College program, said the staff and students in the program were excited to receive the award.

“This award is a tribute to the caring, hard-working staff of the Montgomery County Community College Gateway to College Program, and the students who have worked so hard toward completing their high school diplomas,” Sheriff said. “Many of these students, for one reason or another, had nearly given up on completing high school, but through this program, they find an inner strength and confidence that they need to achieve their educational goals.”

About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.

Montgomery County Community College Offering Three Open Houses This Spring

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA — Montgomery County Community College will hold three open houses this spring, and students who attend will be eligible to win a scholarship for a three-credit course. 

To register, visit http://www.mc3.edu/springopenhouse or call 215-628-2969 for Central Campus, 610-427-4984 for West Campus, or 267-646-5970 for The Culinary Arts Institute. 

The West Campus in Pottstown, Pa. will host an open house on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The West Campus is located at 101 College Drive. 

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College in Lansdale, Pa. will host an open house on Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Culinary Arts Institute is located at 1400 Forty Foot Road.  

The Central Campus in Blue Bell, Pa. will host an open house on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Central Campus is located at 340 DeKalb Pike.  

Both the Central and West Campus open houses will provide information about the College’s associate degree and certificate programs, an opportunity to meet our award winning faculty, as well as information about the admissions process, paying for college, student success programs, academic support, transfer opportunities, the University Center, and student organizations and clubs, among other topics.  

At The Culinary Arts Institute’s open house, attendees will watch two CAI students battle to win a one thousand dollar prize in The Clemens Food Group Bacon Breakfast Recipe Contest, and will have the opportunity to tour the kitchens and classrooms while learning about Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts and Hospitality associate degree programs, as well as Culinary Enthusiast classes and other non-credit offerings. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process, financial aid, scholarships and the transfer partnership with Johnson & Wales University, among other topics. 

Five three-credit course scholarships will be raffled at the Central Campus open house, and three three-credit scholarships will be raffled at both the West Campus and Culinary Arts Institute open houses. Students must be present to win, and fees are not included. 

About Montgomery County Community College 
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.   

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.   

Leading Social Justice Advocate Lateefah Simon To Speak At Montgomery County Community College March 28

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Lateefah Simon, a nationally recognized advocate for civil rights and racial justice, will discuss how solutions to big problems often begin with one person who is willing to act when she visits Montgomery County Community College on Tuesday, March 28, at 12:30 p.m. for the annual Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice. 

The lecture will be held in the Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with a simulcast to MCCC’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The community is invited to attend this free presentation, but tickets are required. To reserve seats, visit www.mc3.edu/BennettLecture or call 215-641-6518. 

Simon has more than 20 years of executive experience advancing opportunities for communities of color and low-income communities. She gives hope to thousands of families who are struggling to overcome the challenges of poverty and discrimination.  

She currently serves as president of the Akonadi Foundation, a charitable group that funds community projects in the San Francisco Bay area. She has received several honors for her work including being the youngest woman ever to be named a MacArthur “Genius” Grant Fellow. She also was included on the first ever Power List in O Magazine, received the Remarkable Woman Award from Lifetime TV, and was honored by JFK Presidential Library with a Fenn Award. 

This presentation is part of the ongoing Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Peace and Social Justice series which was established at the College in 1981. The lectureship reflects the ideals of Richard Bennett, a Quaker who devoted his life work to accomplishing peace and justice through non-violent efforts.   

West End Student Theatre Brings ‘Reckless’ To The Stage At Montgomery County Community College West Campus In April

Pottstown, PA —The Montgomery County Community College West End Student Theatre brings Craig Lucas’s comedy/drama Reckless to the stage April 20-22 at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown. 

On December 24, Rachel is informed by her guilt-ridden husband that he has hired a hitman to kill her – Merry Christmas! She scrambles out into the night alone, and finds a wild, wonderful web of people and events which allow her to become the hero of her own (almost sane) story. The production contains adult themes and language. 

Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists’ Play Services, Reckless is directed by Tim Gallagher and assistant director Zach Clark, with stage direction by Jeff Chernesky. It is produced and designed by students in the Theatre Production Workshop and the West End Student Theatre. 

The cast and crew includes Maliah Buxton of Collegeville, Mika Cave of Bechtelsville, Sebastian Coates of Douglassville, William Cox of Red Hill, Tess Devlin of Collegeville, Duncan DeVore of Perkiomenville, Joseph Donley of Pottstown, Phoebe Kancianic of Pottstown, Derek Peterson of Reading, Shaun Reed of Lancaster, Erik Reyes of Pottstown, Toby Troyer, Hailee Tyson of Sanatoga, and Kayla Velasquez of Royersford. 

Performances will be held April 20 – 22 at 7 p.m., and a special daytime performance on April 21 at 12:30 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, Pa. General admission is $10, and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, please visit www.mc3.edu/theater or call 215-641-6518. 

Proceeds from the production will benefit the Theatre Arts Merit Scholarship fund at the College. 

About Montgomery County Community College 

For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.   

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.  

‘Wig Out!’ At Muhlenberg

Allentown, PA — Muhlenberg College takes a stroll down the runway and into drag ball culture, as the Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance Department presents Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Wig Out!,” March 30 – April 2. Rarely produced since its 2008 premiere, “Wig Out!” offers an outlandish and high-style glimpse into the tight-knit world of Harlem drag balls. Muhlenberg theater professor Troy Dwyer directs.

“I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything quite like this on our stage,” Dwyer says. “It’s going to be an extremity of design — and a leap-of-faith undertaking for the department. It’s also an opportunity to accommodate our population of truly gifted students of color, who aren’t just actors, but a variety of theater-making artists.”

“Wig Out!” focuses on the intense personal connections of  “houses,” the family units at the heart of drag culture — families that typically include a mother, a father, and a group of “children,” while also upending traditional nuclear family roles in favor of something richer and more complex. At the core of “Wig Out!” is the fictional House of Light, with mother Rey-Rey (Cameron Silliman) and father Lucian (Alan Mendez).

“’Wig Out!’ is a quick Alice in Wonderland trip into this topsy-turvy world that’s nothing like ours but very much like ours,” McCraney says. “One of my professors who saw the original run said, ‘I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.’”

Drag balls trace their roots to Harlem in the 1860s, flourishing during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ’30s. Today’s drag ball culture took shape in the 1960s, as black drag queens began hosting predominantly black drag events. In 1990, the drag scene achieved mainstream recognition with the release of the documentary film “Paris Is Burning,” along with pop star Madonna’s drag-inspired hit “Vogue.” The balls themselves are extravagant competitions, in which contestants “walk” and are judged on a specific set of criteria, including the “realness” of their drag, their movement and dance abilities, and their fashion choices.

“What I think is so vital about ‘Wig Out!’ is that it not only makes visible sides of queer culture that aren’t typically part of mainstream culture,” Dwyer says. “It shines a more inclusive light than, say ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ which is about the extent of many people’s familiarity with drag culture.”

“Wig Out!” was first produced at the Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre in New York City, and the same year at the Royal Court Theatre in London. It has been fully produced only once since, in any venue.

Playwright McCraney’s film “Moonlight” received 2017 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was written by McCraney and director Barry Jenkins, based on McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play. McCraney was also recently appointed chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, beginning in July. His plays have been produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, among others.

McCraney got together with the Muhlenberg production’s cast and creative team in February, via Skype. He shared some insights, answered questions, and engaged with the actors’ responses to the play.

Dwyer has surrounded himself with an accomplished creative team — which he says has somewhat allayed his concerns as a white director about taking artistic leadership of this project, in which most of the characters are people of color.

“What feels risky to me is making sure my white male privilege doesn’t upstage the heart of the story,” Dwyer says. “I was committed to having the story told, thinking it was probably okay for me to be a creative leader, but not by myself. I’m so fortunate to have some really brilliant, passionate artists of color around me, who are significant creative leaders on the piece.”

The production team includes managing dramaturg Dr. Sharrell Luckett, a Muhlenberg theater professor; accomplished costume designer Andy Jean; and Broadway wig and hair designer Bobbie Zlotnik. Samuel Antonio Reyes, who choreographed last summer’s acclaimed Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre production of “In the Heights,” and a veteran of the ballroom scene himself, has created the show’s extensive choreography.

The show also features makeup design by Joe Dulude II, who designed make-up for the Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of “Wicked” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Dulude is the Baker Artist-in-Residence for the 2016-17 academic year, thanks to a grant from the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation. He says his own involvement in the drag scene heavily influences his approach to the work.

“My drag is often about playing with the masculine and feminine,” Dulude says. “Since my own experiences in drag and working with other drag queens is so diverse, that’s what I’m bringing to the show: not just one style of drag but a combination of styles.”

Muhlenberg Junior Evan Brooks, who plays Ms. Nina/Wilson, one of the children of the House of Light, says the production is a vital performance opportunity for theater students at Muhlenberg.

“At this moment in our nation’s history, being able to participate in this production is nothing less than a gift,” Brooks says. “I think it’s essential to provide theatrical and educational experiences for under-represented artists, who aren’t acknowledged in the same way as majority-identifying students — and that’s what the production is doing.”

Dwyer says the show’s second act will feature a drag ball performance for which audience members will be invited onstage to serve as the crowd for the ball. The production also will feature a lobby display about the history of drag, coordinated by Luckett, and a uniquely interactive intermission.

“We want the audience to leave with an appreciation for drag culture, in all its spectacular diversity,” Dwyer says. “The mainstream gets an exceptionally narrow version of queer culture, when they get any version at all — and often it comes at the expense of other, more marginalized versions. We want to broaden their horizons a bit.”

“Wig Out!” plays March 30 – April 2. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. The production is recommended for mature audiences.

Tickets and information are available online at muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Mark Your Calendar For Another Spectacular Pottstown ArtsWalk – A Free Event – Saturday, May 6, 2017!

Pottstown, PA —“We have always recognized and embraced what the arts and collaboration can do for a community”, said Erika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion19464. Join us for a day of discovery on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 12 pm to 9 pm. Arts and culture organizations, local businesses and restaurants are teaming up to bring you an amazing day of fun, food and entertainment.

“The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) is excited to be a part in this venture. It has been very exciting to see our downtown community pull together with our arts and cultural organizations to create this amazing event,” states Sheila Dugan, PDIDA.

Viewing the art in a kind of “pub crawl” format adds to the fun and energetic quality of this event. Family-friendly activities are being planned. Nearly 20 downtown business will be open to showcase original artwork displays and live musical entertainment.

“It all starts with the arts!” said Lauren Pierson-Swanson, Steel River Playhouse. “To know Pottstown is to love it. The people behind the businesses and attractions on and around High Street are smart, driven and dedicated to this beautiful historic town. Art has always been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of American communities and is the focus of Pottstown ArtsWalk.”

While this event is free, we ask that you pre-register for your free ticket. Each is valid for one person to join the Pottstown ArtsWalk on Saturday, May 6, 2017, and you can order as many as you need. Visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk.

Get a taste for all the activities, food and arts presentations. Here is a list of venues joining us Saturday, May 6th to showcase Pottstown and all that our community has to offer:

@107, 107 E. High St. and Advantage Insurance
ArtFusion 19464, 254 E. High St.
Ballroom on High, 310 E. High St.
Beverly’s Pastry Shop, 322 E. High St.
Connections on High, 238 E. High St.
Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches, 137 E. High St.
High Street Music, 135 E. High St.
iCreate Cafe, 130 King St.
Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High St.
Lily’s Grill, 115 E. High St.
MCCC North Hall Gallery, 16 E. High St.
Memory Madness Photo Studio, 16 N. York St.
MOSIAC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St.
Potts & Penn Family Diner, 80 E. High St.
Smith Family Plaza, 100 E. High St.
Steel River Playhouse, 245 E. High St.
The Carousel at Pottstown, 30 W. King St.
The Hill School Center for the Performing Arts, 780 Beech St.
Weitzenkorn’s, 145 E. High St.

To get the latest update on locations and activities, visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk and don’t forget to pre-register for Pottstown ArtsWalk!

Pottstown ArtsWalk is brought to you in partnership through
ArtFusion19464, Steel River Playhouse, @107, Proudly Pottstown and Advantage Insurance Group.

TriCounty Community Network News And Events

PA Neighborhood Assistance Program 


Health Lifestyles Expo
May 5, 2017
9:30am – 1:30pm
Sunnybrook Ballroom


Boyertown Multi-Service


Amity Place

Managing Heart Failure in the Senior Patient

By Dr. Linganathan, Medical Director Heart Failure Clinic at Phoenixville Hospital

Thursday, March 16 @ 2-3 p.m.

Light refreshments

Red Cross Blood Drive

Wednesday, March 22 @ 1-6 p.m.

Free Community Bingo

Friday, April 21 @ 1:30

Prizes Galore!

RSVP for all events at 610-385-7600


Pottstown Families


Montgomery County Advisory Council


Domestic Violence Legal Network


TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce


Western Montgomery Career & Technology Center


Delos Workshops


Montgomery County Community College




Wellness Council of Boyertown
Wellness Fair


Public Citizens for Children & Youth




The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation and The Nonprofit Center 

are Announcing

New Programs in Pottstown for Board Members, Executive Directors, Emerging Leaders & Other Staff

Click Here for More Information


Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force


Women’s Center of Montgomery County


Springford Chamber of Commerce


Edward Jones Investments with Bonnie L. Thompson


Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities


Gilbertsville & Kutztown


Precision Polymer Products, Inc.

Local Entrepreneurs Make Pitch For Start-Up Funding At Montgomery County Community College

Jennifer Green (on stage, right) and service dog Echo are joined by Christina Finello (on stage, left) to make their pitch for start-up funding for Alpha Bravo Canine to the panel of judges Tuesday at Montgomery County Community College.

Blue Bell, PA — Jennifer Green doubled over in her chair, breathing rapidly with her hand to her face. Echo, a 16-month-old chocolate lab, recognized the signs of a panic attack and sprang into action, nuzzling his owner’s hand and climbing onto her lap to apply pressure to her chest to help calm her down.

Green, however, wasn’t really having a panic attack, she was demonstrating the training Echo received to assist military veterans suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The demonstration was part of her pitch to receive up to $20,000 in funding for her non-profit business, Alpha Bravo Canine.

Alpha Bravo Canine was one of six start-up businesses which made their pitch for funding to a panel of judges on Tuesday at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell as part of the Karen A. Stout Start-Up Accelerator Fund, named for the College’s former president.

Now in its second year, the Fund provides fledging businesses with much-needed capital to help take them to the next level in their business development. The Fund is run by the Montgomery County Community College Foundation and the College’s Division of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives.

After giving their presentation, the entrepreneurs faced questions from a panel of judges that included Jay Bown, president of Industrial Investments, Inc. of Blue Bell; Bob Rosenthal, partner in the real estate firm of Envision Land Use in Wayne; Gaetan Giannini, dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at MCCC; Arline Stephan, vice president for Institutional Advancement at MCCC; and Phil Needles, vice president of Student Services at MCCC.

Josh Hoffman, co-founder of Game Plan, a mobile-app that helps people make personalized group decisions on where to dine, pitched his business to the panel and said he was very pleased with the feedback and advice he received.

“I thought it went pretty well,” Hoffman said. “When you get me up there, that’s what gives me energy.”

“Having their feedback is crucial for us growing and understanding what we need to work on,” Green said. “We appreciate the opportunity to do this no matter the outcome.”

That outcome will be determined in the next few weeks as the judges review each entrepreneur’s presentation and proposal and make decisions about funding. After receiving funding, those businesses will continue to work with the College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies to set key milestones and deliverables in the start-up of their business and to monitor their progress and outcomes.

Other business making pitches to the judges on Tuesday included Cryten, Inc., which provides information technology staffing and recruitment services to organizations; NeuroFlow, a software solution which promises to change the way we see brain health; Reentry USA, a reentry database for ex-offenders which promises to help reduce recidivism and improve public safety; and iCareQuality.us, which develops scalable, open source technology to advance the science of the healthcare industry.

“This Fund is about identifying and working with start-ups with strong potential and helping them grow and prosper so they can have a greater impact on Montgomery County and the region,” Stephan said.

PLAYHOUSE ACCEPTING ENROLLMENT FOR SPRING CLASSES, PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS, HOME SCHOOL DRAMA WORKSHOP AND SUMMER CAMP!

Pottstown, PA — Steel River Playhouse, at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown, PA is now accepting enrollment for the Spring term and summer program, which includes private study in guitar, piano, voice, trumpet and acting, along with group classes in acting, performance, improvisation and much more.

Steel River’s spring term began on Monday, March 28. Classes are available in Acting, Improvisation, Broadway Cabaret, and the popular Flights of Fancy and Imagination Theater programs for young actors to create and perform original works and perform for an audience. A home school drama club original production workshop is also accepting enrollment.

Students may also enroll NOW for workshop productions beginning in mid-March including productions of THE TEMPEST (classical workshop for dramatic actors), A CHARM SCHOOL WITCH (musical workshop for young performers), BANG BANG, YOU’RE DEAD (a contemporary drama workshop) and Broadway Cabaret workshop (Summer Lovin’ Cabaret). For more information on these productions, email the education department at education@steelriver.org.

Summer camp enrollment has also begun, and students may register for three different two week camps.

  • Camp one offers a Variety Show theme, and runs from July 11 to July 22.
  • Camp two runs from July 25 to August 8, and offers students the opportunity to work an original musical theme of global awareness, which explores a variety of cultures from around the world.
  • Camp three offers students to create original one act plays, from August 8 to 19.

Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (with option for half day camp for younger students). Each camp culminates in an original work that is performed for parents, and includes workshops in specialty skills that will be used in that performance, such as juggling, Broadway dance styles and more, while also incorporating lessons in confidence, cultural awareness and collaboration.

Steel River Playhouse employs educators who are regionally and nationally renowned in their fields with many holding advanced degrees. The facility is also renowned as one of the highest rated theatrical venues in PA, featuring state of the art performance spaces, studios, classroom space, sound reinforcement equipment and seating, full set, costume and prop shops as well as the best green room of any theater in the area. Steel River’s goal is to provide the highest possible educational experience for students and participants in the tri-county area, focused on every level of training from beginner to expert!

About Steel River Playhouse – Steel River Playhouse is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable education and performance facility that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Designated as a “gateway” performing arts center, Steel River provides affordable, high quality performances, comprehensive educational offerings, and enriching volunteer opportunities in all aspects of theatre arts. Students and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to explore and grow their skills by working side-by-side with professional instructors, performers, directors, and designers.