Big kids have art goals, too

Older students share thoughts and insights
regarding their education

It’s a fresh school year. School buildings are open and kids are walking through the doors, sometimes with excitement and sometimes reluctantly as the days of freedom are over.

Teachers and administrators have many goals for the academic year. Students have plans, too. Most often, people talk about what the younger students think they will learn in the  new year. However, the older students truly have some thoughts and insights into their education.

Gabe Cruse, freshman at Boyle County High School, has had some art classes in middle school. His experience has interested him in studying landscape drawing. Gabe has no plans at this time for an art career, but is looking forward to trying out some new skills in Carrie Snow’s art class.

Hunter Vandiviere, a sophomore at BCHS, also took art in middle school. This year, he would like to learn about the cultures of different artists. He particularly likes the work of Salvador Dalí, a Spanish artist whose life spanned most of the 20th century. Dali is considered a surrealist painter, but was also a filmmaker, sculptor, writer and printmaker.

While students in Freida Gebert’s advanced theater class demonstrated the art of fainting without causing personal injury, Ian Birney described his plans for the year as president of the BCHS Thespian Troupe and considering his college choices. Ian has performed in productions at Ragged Edge Theatre (RET) and hopes to attend college to major in drama and business.

“Always need a backup plan,” he said. To prepare, he is focusing on his vocal skills.

Ian’s classmate and Thespian Troupe VP junior Alyssa Wray already has experience in community theater at RET and West T. Hill Community Theatre. She is working to improve her audition techniques as she hopes to continue a career in musical theater in community theaters.

At Danville High School, Libby Hale and Jenna Haines are both enrolled in Scott Walker’s musical theater class. Libby, a junior, has already taken several theater classes at DHS, so she is taking this class to develop her vocal skills with an eye to studying theater at Centre College. She is so focused on building her portfolio, she convinced Jane Dewey to supervise her in an independent study class concentrating on defining her personal style as a performer.

Sophomore Jenna Haines realizes she will need to build her self-confidence if she hopes to continue her acting career. She has performed in high school productions, has joined the forensics team and signed up for speech class this year.

Alejandra Nieto, a student in Shelly Stinnett’s art class at DHS, is a senior with the goal of becoming a tattoo artist. She has researched the possibilities for professional certification and has set her goal for this year to improve her skills in shading and dimension to enhance the realism and depth of her artwork.

At KSD, Sarah Joiner wants to develop her personal creative style without relying on internet images as her inspiration. This is her second year in art with teacher Alex Meckes. As a senior, she is considering a career in psychology with the possibility of using art in therapeutic settings. Throughout her life, Sarah has found art to be calming and soothing and hopes she can provide the same opportunities to her future students and clients.

Art can change lives. It can give focus and offer opportunities. For these students and the many others who are sitting in classrooms around our community, art class is a special time each day to explore personal ideas and learn new skills. Many students may not pursue art as a career, but clearly it is approached with optimism and curiosity this new year.

New Web Site Announced in Advocate

Arts Commission launches new website

A newly designed website for the Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County has gone live as of today, and the commission’s director said it has been one “ambitious project.”

The website will highlight the enhanced, ongoing working relationships the commission has with local partners — including the Boyle County Public Library, Pieceable Friends Quilt Guild, ASAP, Gathering Artists, Plein Air Artists, all local schools and Scarlet Cup Theatre, among many others.

“The Arts Commission’s primary goal is the support of the arts, artists and arts organizations throughout the community,” said Mimi Becker, director. “This goal has led the organization to expand its own sponsored activities, but more importantly, to seek partnerships with other community programs with common goals.”

Becker said the site features a more flexible events calendar, which will highlight upcoming events on the home page for quick reference, and include more available options to contact the commission.

“Suggestions and comments are always welcome, as well,” Becker said. Links will be provided directing visitors to articles and columns Becker has written for The Advocate-Messenger, as well as other featured articles.

New partnership

One of the most exciting functions of the site, Becker said, is the ticket service offered. “With Scarlet Cup Theatre joining the Arts Commission under fiscal sponsorship, the board wanted to offer the theater an economical and flexible option for ticket sales.” Tickets are already being sold for Scarlet Cup’s next performance in October, “Departures,” which will be performed at Stuart Powell Airfield.

Liz Orndorff, president of Scarlet Cup’s board, said it previously was included under the Community Arts Center’s umbrella of fiscal sponsorship, but that changed in March of this year.

“We received a letter from the Arts Center, which was highly complimentary of the work of the theatre, but said the Community Arts Center’s board came to a consensus it was not in the best interests of ‘either organization to merge Scarlet Cup’ into the Arts Center’s programming structure,” Orndorff said. “We are very grateful for the Community Arts Center to have been our fiscal sponsor for the first three years we existed. We couldn’t have existed without their help.”

Orndorff said Becker and the Arts Commission have been very enthusiastic about the new partnership, which began in May. “Mimi did all of her homework about how this relationship will work immediately, figuring out how to help us sell tickets on their new site. Everything she’s doing is helping Scarlet Cup exist, and exist better.”

Orndorff said she and the rest of the board of the theatre feels the Arts Commission “was the natural one to go to. It totally fits their mission, to bring as much art to as many people in Boyle County.”

Becker said the commission is more than pleased to have Scarlet Cup as a part of its organization.

“A fiscal sponsorship relationship gives all the benefits of a non-profit status to small organizations,” she said. As fiscal sponsor, the Arts Commission provides to the public and donors “the assurance that the organization is fiscally sound and uses donated funds for the intended purpose. The sponsored organization can apply for grants and receive donations.”

Becker said the Arts Commission’s mission states that it is supportive of new and innovative arts concepts, and “Scarlet Cup Theatre is just that.”

“We also support arts and business partnerships and the combination of theater and unusual venues is quite innovative, especially in a small town,” Becker said. “We are looking forward to the upcoming production at the airport. Rob Caldwell, the airport board and the staff have been truly amazing to work with.”

Becker said the ticket service on the commission’s site will also be used by the Danville-Boyle County Scholarship Foundation for their December fundraiser, which will be co-sponsored by the Arts Commission. That event will bring local, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Larnelle Harris back home for a holiday concert on Dec. 16, for example.

“This has been an enormous project for me, and I can’t believe it is where it is,” Becker said. Her sister was the developer and “babysitter” for the redesign, she said, who is a retired owner of a digital product development services company.

“I’m extremely happy with the turnout,” Becker said.

Sneak peek

“Departures” is a British comedy — the first comedy offered by Scarlet Cup. Orndorff said it’s set in 10 different airports around the world, so the lobby of the Boyle airport is perfect.

“The airport staff really wanted us to come out there and do the play, and it will be such a cool thing. Hopefully more people will come out to see it, because I don’t think that many people really go out there.”

She said a real-life radio will continue broadcasting flight information and communications during the production, as well as anyone who lands during the play will walk through it in the lobby. Four actors will portray eight different characters; the play will be presented in a series of vignettes. The play is directed by Tony Haigh, vice president of Scarlet Cup’s board.


• Visit the redesigned Arts Commission website at

• “Departures” will be presented at the Stuart Powell Airfield on Oct. 4-7 and 11-14. Check back to read more about this Scarlet Cup production.

Scarlet Cup Theater Opens New Season

Scarlet Cup Departures
Join the frazzled passengers and crew at ten airports around the world in Departures, a very British comedy by John Godber.  Directed by Anthony Haigh at the Danville-Boyle County Airport, you’ll sit in the lobby among the actors as they try to survive the modern perils of air travel.

History of Scarlet Cup Theatre

Founded in late 2014 by folks who were interested in seeing fresh and unusual
plays in varying venues, Scarlet Cup Theater was eventually named after a brilliant
mushroom that pops up in Kentucky and around the world, displaying a scarlet cup
amid the gray and dying winter forest.
It took a year to get our theatrical ducks in a row, find a fiscal sponsor, gather some
money, recruit others passionate about theater, and settle on a play and a venue.
Our first production was in March of 2016. (See Past Productions for our seasons.)
Aiming to do two shows a year, we offer international and contemporary and new
drama and comedy. We have had three American premieres out of our five
scheduled productions. We look for unusual locations and have performed in
restaurants, churches and airports.
Our mission statement says it all : Scarlet Cup offers occasional and unexpected
theater in surprising venues to challenge audiences with thought-provoking


Arts Commission supports education


The Arts Commission presented “The Tipping Point”, by Liz Orndorff in January 2018 for 1300 middle and high school students with the support of the Agency for Substance Prevention.  

Arts In The News

Arts Commission marks 20th year by thanking, recognizing board members


Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County

The Arts Commission, like many other non-profit organizations, counts on the dedication and generosity of people who volunteer their time for the good of the community. Rarely do these individuals receive the recognition they deserve.

In small towns across the country, budget cuts in corporations and at the local, state and federal government levels have put added stress on the funding levels needed to provide services many citizens rely on. From assistance for basic needs to opportunities to participate in arts activities, many families turn to organizations which are dedicated to making sure every person has access and choice.

This marks the 20th Anniversary of the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County. While the organization has moved around, having shared office space in City Hall, at the Community Arts Center and at the McClure- Barbee House, it has found a home at its current location in the McKinney Conference Center in Constitution Square. This space has allowed the Arts Commission to offer sales and exhibit space for artists, as well as a dedicated meeting and conference area for arts support groups and programming.

To support the growth of the Arts Commission, the board has evolved into an active group of 12 individuals with varying talents and experiences to broaden perspective in serving the needs of a diverse and changing community.

Nationally, volunteer boards struggle to engage a range of membership and participation. Locally, we can boast a well above average rate of attendance and involvement. Statistically, volunteers are older. Individuals seek to balance time between family, business and community interests with two working parents and many activities their young children are involved in. In the changing world of communications, non-profit organizations must rely on volunteers who bring new skills to the table.

Esther Rugerio serves as the secretary of the Arts Commission Board. She is a graduate of Danville High School, holds two degrees from Eastern Kentucky University and is working on her certification in financial planning while employed with Encompass. Esther is an artist herself and brings experience with web design and social media. She never considered volunteering until a neighbor encouraged her to get involved on a board level.

Caleb Conover is another addition to the board with experience in technology development and organizational structure. In his professional role at the Boyle County Public Library, he is called upon to teach and help library patrons solve problems with their use of electronic devices.

He recently taught a class for the Arts Commission to assist participants in taking advantage of the camera features of their cell phones. The class was so popular, there was a waiting list.

Mary Noelker joined the board in 2017. She is a jeweler and brings the experience of exhibiting statewide and is a Kentucky Crafted certified artist. The Kentucky Crafted program is a rigorous process which recognizes artists who demonstrate the highest standards of their craft as well as a thorough business background in arts marketing.

Other board members serving the Arts Commission are Mary Conley, Boyle County treasurer and deputy county judge-executive; Dana Dixon, co-owner of Dixon Design; Alex Meckes, Kentucky School for the Deaf art teacher; Kathy Milby, financial advisor with Wealth South; Charlie Perry, the Charlie Perry Show; Michael Ross, actor and musician; and Erin Tipton, campus director at Bluegrass Community & Technical College. Janna Rigney and Madelyn Worley serve the board as emeritus members.

The Arts Commission appreciates these dedicated volunteers who generously share their talents, expertise and time to serve all Danville and Boyle County citizens. The commission welcomes persons who are have suggestions for programming or an interest in serving as a volunteer or as a board member.

To find out more or to volunteer, email

Mimi Becker is executive director of the Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County.