What a great day today was! It was the official opening ceremonies for the new Cary Arts Center, about which I've raved in previous posts. There were art activities going on all day, from 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM, including free concerts, dance performance, theater improv, historical lectures, art exhibits, craft projects for kids, lesson demonstrations, artists working on and talking about their pieces under development. The dedication ceremonies themselves were at 2:00 PM, attended not only by hundreds of Cary residents, but by many Cary politicians old (such as long-time former Mayor Koka Booth) and new (present Mayor Harold Weinberg and most of the current Cary Council).
We walked up there about 1:00, despite a fairly heavy rain--but we weren't about to let that deter us!
Once we got there (admittedly, a little soggy), I caught up with my good friend Eileen, who was there with her two boys who are my son's age, and we watched some lovely performances by the Cary Ballet:
Then a dashing Town Cryer called us all to attendance to the dedication ceremony:
Many politicians and Town of Cary staff thanked the many people who had worked on the entire project, which began about 10 years ago, although the groundbreaking was about a year and a half ago:
Many people were acknowledged, and many expressed their delight about how well this vision for an integrated facility for the arts has been manifested. It made me really proud to live in a community that recognizes the importance of supporting the arts, especially for children, in a time of financial hard times and an educational focus on standardized testing. And it is wonderful that a site that had been a school for almost 150 years, and one of the first public education buildings in the area, has been saved to continue its mission of educating and uplifting the citizens for a long time into the future.
My favorite part of the ceremony, however, was related to the cornerstone, which was supposed to be placed in the theater flybridge that day, but had to be postponed due to the rain. But in that cornerstone was placed a time capsule with items contributed by 37 Cary-based arts and cultural organizations. Some were parts of the Town government or local educational institutions, some were discipline-specific arts organization, and some were related to ethnic minorities. But it was so wonderful to see representatives from groups seeking to share the culture of African, Turkish, Hispanic, Indian, Nepalese, Sister Cities in France, Belgium, Ireland, and China, Philippine, and I've probably forgotten a few more. It was wonderful to see such diversity in a Southern community that 50 years ago was basically a rural train stop outside Raleigh with 5,000 residents, pretty exclusively white and black.
The plans are for the time capsule to be opened up in 70 years. So I may not be around then, but I certainly hope my son is. I took a picture of him next to the cornerstone/time capsule that maybe he can put into the time capsule when they seal it for the NEXT 70 years!
We also ran into our friends Angie and Todd, who came from a beading party for their daughter's birthday, and later into my friend Bridget, whose all-too-old son was supposed to be playing as part of the Cary High School Marching Band (another old tradition in Cary) for the dedication, but which unfortunately for us got rained out (although I'm not sure the kids, who have been practicing for up to 12 hours a day for a couple of weeks now, minded the break).
All together, it was just a lovely, lovely day, full of great art, great friends, and a great accomplishment on the part of the Town of Cary.