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10 years in Business! (Oh my goodness...)

2016 marks 10 years...a decade...3,650 days...87,600 hours...of running a performing arts center in a community I grew up in...

While there are a lot of things I can look back on and remember with a smile, there are also many moments filled with tears and uncertainity. This has been, and still is one of the scariest things I do with my life. I close my eyes and a sea of beautiful faces, moving bodies, and powerful forces of energy flood through my memories as I recall moments captured within my bones, and the walls of this building. There are still days that I walk in the front doors and simply stand in silence for several minutes, taking it all in...not in a million years did I ever think my husband and I would have made a three day decision to uproot our lives with no business plan, obtain a 15,000 square foot building, and begin renovating a vaudeville theatre! It is simply unheard of, and yet, 10 years ago all I could think of was "Why not?".

All that being said, there are a few things I know for certain about this journey...1. I am crazy. It was Nietzsche that said, "One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." - This quote has hung on my fridge since college, one day I realized I deeply understood everything about it and yet not everyone would understand my own chaos... 2. Surround yourself with individuals who love/support/listen to the vision and growth of the space and everything it contains and serves. 3. Release what I am not skilled in to the wonderful individuals who can do the job better than me. (Bookeeping/building maitence/costuming/the list goes on and on really...) 4. Self-Care/Practice/Meditate/Pray everyday, all day if possible. LISTEN to everything. 5. Honor those people around you regardless of this thing called "business".

What amazes me today about 4th Avenue Arts is that there is this group of talented/highly educated faculty...IN Huntington, WV. The space comes alive because of their knowledge, energy, and love for the students. That eight years ago a powerhouse of a woman, (Summer O. Logan) came onboard and believed in the vision...which has paved a path for others in a way that I alone never could have done. And then there are these amazing families who chose to bring their children to us because they want them to have a performing arts educational experience. We have students auditioning, studying, and performing all over the country as a result of the training they recieve with us. Our guest artist program is on par with some collegiate level institutions; as we host over 50 artists yearly! If someone would have asked me 10 years ago if I would have thought this was possible my answer would have been a solid no. Not because I am a realist (as that is anything but the truth) but simply because you never know how far you can fly until you actually jump.

I am beyond proud at this point, I am honored. Blessed to wake up each morning and have the gift to do what I love. To create the life I see in my dreams...even when I have tears streaming down my cheeks. The past 10 years are only the beginning. The space and the energy have moved so far beyond just me...I now smile at the wonderful vibrations going in and out of the bodies not only within the building, but also into the community, and beyond. Cheers to the next decade! I cannot wait to continue breathing in the ride...


*Special thanks to McComas Video Productions for the beautiful video! Keep your eyes peeled for more footage as we celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary!


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