There's no business like show business
By Kelly Daniel, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce The entertainment industry is doing well in Nacogdoches and throughout the East Texas area,and the valuable benefits that are produced by the arts are appreciated by residents and visitors on different levels.
"A lively arts scene is so integral to a prosperous community that I would go so far as to say cultural development really is economic development," said Scott Shattuck, Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts, SFASU. "Gallup found in a huge study that social spaces such as performing arts venues were among the three most important aspects of the'soul' of a successful community."
Shattuck further explained that "smart, creative, entrepreneurial people want to live in a place that’s colorful, stimulating and lively."
"An exciting performance provides a focus for a multifaceted experience that’s social and economic as well as cultural: beforehand, dinner out with another couple you don’t see often enough, listening to a talk about the performers, taking a look at the art in our gallery and running into a client at intermission, afterwards taking the kids out for ice cream, or stopping somewhere for coffee or a drink and some local music, maybe buying a book or t-shirt the next day,"he said.
To better understand the benefits that the fine arts and entertainment industry delivers, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce will feature the topic at its Fourth Friday Luncheon. The meeting is open to the public and will be held from noon to 1 p.m., June 22 at Austin Hall & Event Center, 4606 North St.
Joining Shattuck as a presenter are Angelina Arts Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Allen, Lamp-Lite Theatre House Manager Bill King, and Lufkin / Angelina County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Tara Watson-Watkins.
Each fit in different niches of the fine arts arena and play important roles in economic development for the region.
"Located in historic downtown Lufkin, the beautifully refurbished and renovated Pines Theater is truly a community gem," Watson-Watkins said. "We are proud to offer a wide variety of programming to entertain patrons of all ages. From live entertainment to classic movies to an event venue, The Pines is helping bring new life and energy to downtown Lufkin."
Lamp-Lite Theatre produces quality stage entertainment and also offers opportunities for those looking to get involved on stage and behind the scenes."Our volunteers make our productions happen," said King. "In addition to acting, we have places for costume and set designers, make-up artists and others to showcase their talents."
Allen agreed that "the cultural vitality of our community is essential to the overall health of our community."
"As a nonprofit arts and cultural organization, the Angelina Arts Alliance contributes greatly to the quality of life in deep East Texas. Our programs enrich our community and drive economic development in many ways," Allen said.
The Nacogdoches County Chamber invites all to attend the luncheon. The cost is $16 per personand attendee registration is requested by 4 p.m., Wednesday, June 20. The event Gold sponsor is Advanced Temporaries, Inc. - A.T. Staffing.
“The communities throughout deep East Texas are enriched by a robust arts community. Attendees should make sure they bring their calendars so they can mark them with all of the exciting opportunities happening this year,” said Dr. Adam Peck, program chairman and SFA Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs.
About the presenters
Jennifer Allen is the Executive Director of the Angelina Arts Alliance. She moved to Lufkin almost two years ago after serving as the Director of Development and Marketing for Theatre Aspen in Colorado. Prior to that, she served seven years at the Orpheum Theatre in Wichita, Kansas beginning as its Development and Marketing Director and as its President through 2015. At the Orpheum Theater in Kansas, she was responsible for the overall fundraising, marketing and community outreach of the theatre. Jennifer was deeply involved in the theatre’s restoration efforts, capital campaign, organizational growth and enhanced programming. Ultimately, she is a passionate arts advocate and believes in the arts as a cultural and economic driver in communities large and small. Jennifer is a native Texan having grown up in Fort Worth, is a member Lufkin Rotary Club and is in this year’s Leadership Lufkin class. She completed her graduate and undergraduate degrees in Communication from Wichita State University, and she is thrilled to call East Texas her home.
For the past 18 months, Bill King and his wife, Linda have served as volunteer house managers for Lamp-Lite Theatre, a community theater in Nacogdoches that is dedicated to bringing live stage performances to East Texas and Louisiana. For the past 47 years, Lamp-Lite has brought a mixture of comedies, musicals, and dramas to audiences from throughout East Texas. Bill is a retired army officer who followed that career with a 15-year career as the editor-in-chief of Expansion Management, an international economic development magazine based in Kansas City. He returned to Texas 10 years ago to succeed Judy McDonald as the head of the Nacogdoches EDC. Bill has been retired for the past three years and now spends his time volunteering with Lamp-Lite Theatre and the Nacogdoches Film Festival, in addition to pursuing his quest to write the next Great American Novel. And, like all Aggies, he lives for the elusive quest of a national championship in football.
As associate dean of SFA’s College of Fine Arts, Scott Shattuck serves as director of the University Series and Encore Events. From 2007-16 he served as director of SFA’s School of Theatre, after previously serving as director of theatre at Marymount College of Fordham University in New York, director of the London Dramatic Academy in England, producing and artistic director of Jean Cocteau Repertory (an off-Broadway theatre company in NYC), interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Pennsylvania’s Dickinson College, and Director of Production and Education at the Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore. Scott earned an MFA degree in Drama at the University of Texas at Austin. He is originally from Denver and describes himself as a dog lover and fan of public broadcasting.
Tara Watson-Watkins was recently named the President/CEO of Lufkin / Angelina County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the Chamber position, she served as the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Executive Director and the Artistic Director of The Pines Theater. She is a 2001 graduate of Texas Christian University with a degree in Speech Language Pathology. Upon graduation, Tara worked in Dallas and Austin as a pharmaceutical representative with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Santarus. In 2006, Tara returned to her hometown of Lufkin as the Marketing Director for Woodland Heights Medical Center. Her combined experience, hometown pride and love of bringing people together, led Tara to the position with Lufkin CVB. Tara is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Texas and is very active in her community serving on the boards of Hospice in the Pines, PineCrest Retirement Community and the LISD Education Foundation, as well as serving as past chairman for many Lufkin Chamber of Commerce functions. She is involved in the Junior League of Lufkin, where she is a sustainer, her church and has been an HIV/AIDS activist for the past 26 years. When Tara is not volunteering in the community or at home with her husband, attorney Brent Watkins, and daughter, Analeigh Grace, she lectures and teaches across the state and throughout the country.
Kelly Daniel is the Executive Vice President at the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.