This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

February 27 , 2002 - Your input needed on County Cultural Master Plan

As far as I can recall, the first live performance I ever saw was in junior high school. When I was in eighth grade, I got to see my first orchestra. I was a freshman in high school before I saw my first play.

Elementary school field trips took me to museums somewhat earlier. I didn't get to an art museum, though, until I was a junior in high school.

It's a different story with our children. They visited the Denver Art Museum before they were five. They've seen ballet, Shakespeare, Celtic fiddlers, and orchestras. They've seen theater both local and regional.

But it does get tiring to have to drive to Denver so often. So I've been pleased to see that both at the county and the community level, there's a sudden swell of interest in the arts.

The other day, I started listing for my staff the many organizations that are focused on culture in Douglas County. It's getting to be impressive. Here are just a few: the Douglas County Cultural Council, the Douglas County Historic Preservation Board, the Castle Rock Public Art Commission, the Parker Cultural Commission, the Lone Tree Arts Council, and the Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association. We have at least four local theater groups, one historic band, and a symphony. We have historic museums. Our schools offer a host of plays. And of course, there's the Douglas Public Library District, with facilities and programs throughout the county.

Another encouraging sign for culture in Douglas County is the Douglas County Cultural Master Plan committee. They'll be sponsoring six focus groups, three on Tuesday, March 5, and three on Wednesday, March 6. Thepublic is invited. The broad topics and locations are as follows:

March 5 - 9:30 to 11:30. Arts/Cultural Organizations Cooperating and Coordinating. Highlands Ranch Recreation Center, 9568 S. University Blvd.

Noon - 2 p.m. Funding and Facilities, also at the Rec Center.

4:30-6:30 p.m. Arts Education, South Elementary School, 1100 South Street Castle Rock.

March 6 - 10 a.m. to noon. Individual Artists, Mainstreet Center, 19650 E. Mainstreet, Parker.

2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Heritage, Festivals, and Special Events, also at the Mainstreet Center.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: General Town Meeting, Hearing Room, Philip S. Miller Building, 100 Third Street, Castle Rock.

On behalf of this county-wide group, several Rotarians (from the two Castle Rock clubs, and from the Highlands Ranch club) will be conducting surveys. You'll see us outside area grocery stores, libraries, and recreation centers over next weekend.

Please do take a few minutes to talk with us. Our questions are pretty direct. We'll ask you what cultural activities you currently enjoy. We'll ask what would you like to see more of in your community. We'll ask who you think should be charged with the development of such programs.

Your time and thoughtfulness will help all of us try to plan intelligently for a rich cultural climate for you and your families.

Children shouldn't have to wait years, or battle interstate traffic, simply to discover the magic of the arts.

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