In the years I had been associated with a creative cultural arts center, I became personally and emotionally attached to every aspect of its personality. Indeed, it did have a personality, one that had become a living and breathing symbol of creative possibilities. It was a music school, a recording studio and performance venue. It was a place with books to read and where ideas could be discussed, rendered and worked out. That center has since closed, but other communities everywhere are in need of such arts centers with safe, nurturing and accessible creative opportunities. There is a greater need now, more than ever, for such programs.
So here we are – New Rhythm Arts Center in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to music and dance classes, we are offering further benefits to the community; imagine such a cultural arts center that includes a radio program on an FM station that highlights people in the arts – from musicians to poets, from dancers to novelists, and others. Performances and workshops are yet another aspect of what NRAC offers – a welcome diversion from the everyday.
We hope that we can make NRAC a special place in the community that facilitates and encourages wider, creative interactions with others. Indeed, it will offer many artistic outlets that could challenge as well as entertain, and inform as well as initiate curiosity. After all, creative pursuits and thought is the cornerstone of growth and progress. Some of us live for it, but our culture depends on it.
Creativity and the arts are not reserved for the few, but are for the many. We’d like to make that possible for as many as we can, regardless of what they can afford. Before there can be achievement, there must be belief in its possibility. Using the arts as a gateway to the discovery of personal worth, responsibility and the desire to achieve, New Rhythm Arts Center will be a conduit for individuals to seek and focus on positive interactions, helping to strengthen their communities.
Alicia O. Hempfling
President, New Rhythm Arts Center