For nearly 40 years, The Arts Partnership has been providing Findlay and Hancock County with seasonal events and festivals and educational art programs.
The Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, the new kid on the block, has only been in existence since 2015, but has been offering a wide selection of music, dance and theater not normally available in such small markets.
While the two nonprofits do slightly different things, the common thread is art. It would be hard to imagine the community without either.
Fortunately, the nature of a merger announced this week means we won’t. It will allow both to do what they do best, but do it together.
Directors from the center and the partnership have made it clear from the start that all the things we’ve grown accustomed to, including Youththeatre, Boogie on Main, and the Courtyard Concerts — won’t be going away.
Hoorah for that! Many look forward to the annual events and already have them marked on this year’s calendar.
The merger will be effective July 1, but is expected to be seamless, according to Donna Ridenour, interim executive director of the partnership, and Heather Clow, executive director of the center.
Clow will oversee all educational programming in addition to her current duties. Ridenour’s position will end, but other partnership employees will move on to similar roles at the center.
Boards of the two entities will be combined, with some partnership board members taking on new committee member roles with the center.
It’s hard to see any downside. The workshops, camps and events offered by TAP will continue and the Marathon Center will keep bringing national touring performances and rising local talent to the stages of a state-of-the-art venue in the old Central School auditorium.
The merger should help eliminate public confusion about who’s handling education and who’s handling entertainment. Soon, both will be under one roof.
Planners of the Marathon Center had envisioned the center becoming a downtown destination, and the merger solidifies the concept by bringing two quality organizations with common missions together.
We believe one combined organization will be stronger than two separate ones, and will help better promote all forms of art in a community where it is already embraced.
Clow, who came here from New Hampshire, said she’s been impressed by the community since she arrived 17 months ago and is excited about the opportunities for art ahead.
We are, too. With the center and partnership soon acting as one, there may be no limit to the possibilities.