Rhinoleap, mill 133 poised to boost local arts, economy – news – the courier-tribune – asheboro, nc university of washington

Editor’s note: rhinoleap productions, a fledgling nonprofit, professional theater company based in asheboro, hosted its first formal fund-raiser at the mill 133 construction site on march 10. About 200 guests attended the invitation-only event, which showcased the vision for the facility as well as rhinoleap’s vision to impact professional fine arts locally.

ASHEBORO — through its mission to present professional theatrical productions in asheboro that can also tour other small towns across the state, as well as provide educational programs for high school students, rhinoleap productions intends to not only contribute to building local cultural offerings, but also the local economy.North carolina

By establishing its base in central north carolina, the nonprofit is poised to provide stability and long-term income prospects as it grows for graduates of schools such as the university of north carolina school of the arts (UNCSA) and the university of north carolina at greensboro.

Dustie gregson, co-owner of mill 133, came up with the idea to host the event at the building, which is still under construction. A member of rhinoleap’s board, gregson was looking for a way to let people know what rhinoleap is all about as well as help meet its financial needs.

Proceeds from the evening, which totaled about $7,000, will directly benefit rhinoleap’s high school residency programs.Fine arts the programs are free for participants and taught by working professional actors and artists.

Since may of 2017, its residencies have partnered with asheboro high school, graham high school (alamance county), fuquay-varina high school (wake county), mallard creek high school (mecklenburg county), tryon little theatre (polk county) and the university of north carolina school of the arts (UNCSA) (forsyth county).

RhinoLeap operates with an annual budget of about $220,000 for its productions and school programs. In addition to fund-raising events, the nonprofit depends on ticket sales, which comprise about half of the budget, and sponsors and advertising.North carolina its business plan has the company working toward self-sustenance, however, “in the arts, it’s unrealistic to believe you can do it without fund-raising,” executive producer and co-founder tom osteen said.

While the mill 133 facility is still in “raw shape,” gregson said that hosting the event at the mill 133 location provided “a visual of what we are doing” as well as served as a “way for people to see where we are” with construction and development.

Guests had the opportunity to view conceptual plans of the mill 133 building as well as the entire square on church development, which includes the table and the neal building next door, which is also currently being renovated.Creative community

“I view everything that’s built as a factory,” jerry neal, a local entrepreneur who partnered with gregson to develop the site, said. “you take low-cost, raw material to produce an output — something people want and need that creates jobs and builds community.”

Some of those jobs are for actors and other creatives. As fate would have it, rhinoleap was looking for space at the same time gregson and neal were developing a vision for the square on church. RhinoLeap will occupy the northwest corner of first floor of the mill 133 building. The space will include rehearsal, storage, office and creative space.Fine arts

A culture of arts has been brewing locally for decades as is evident by local community theater as well as live musical offerings at establishments like the table.

“my first major theater production was here in asheboro,” elizabeth lail, a new york-based professional actor originally from asheboro and a graduate of UNCSA, said when she spoke at the march 10 event.

Lail was describing her second-grade debut as gretel in a production of “hansel and gretel” at mccrary elementary. The experience led her to become involved with the randolph youth theater company, asheboro high school’s park street players and RSVP community theater.North carolina

“growing up around theater expanded my consciousness. It created deep empathy inside of myself, challenged my perspectives, introduced me to invaluable mentors, provided best friends, and gave me a safe space to try and fail and then try again,” lail said.

The idea behind rhinoleap, according to osteen, is to work with established theater groups and both local theaters — sunset theatre and asheboro’s newest performing arts center currently under construction at 950 martin luther king jr. Drive — to capitalize on the momentum and broaden the scope of cultural arts offerings in asheboro and randolph county.North carolina

We asked UNCSA director of lighting norman coates, who designed the lighting for the rhinoleap event at mill 133, and guilford technical community college’s commercial music instructor dr. Mark dillon, who designed the sound system for the event, to provide insights regarding the business side of fine arts and its potential impact on asheboro.

COATES: there are multiple reasons, but mostly jeremy skidmore and to help support rhinoleap productions. Every successful production company means potential jobs for current and former students and the expansion of jobs in the arts in north carolina.Creative community

DILLON: I think “interested” is a strong word! I think for those of us in the arts we probably pile more on the plate than we really should, for example I’m doing some other events that same night. It’s probably better to ask why I think it’s important.

I’ll give you an example. When my wife and I moved to asheboro in 2002, we loved the town and never spent a dime in it. We were relatively young and there was absolutely… nothing … to do … except go to church. I wasn’t raised in a church and wasn’t particularly interested in being part of one. I was interested in the arts community.Fine arts so every weekend we would get in our car and drive to greensboro, or chapel hill, or asheville or where ever we could find a creative community.

In those years before the town purchased the sunset theatre, I was helping do sound for various productions, but it really seemed like asheboro wasn’t interested in having a creative community. Right now, it seems like asheboro is on the cusp of having a thriving creative community and rhinoleap seems like it is on the forefront of that.

I’m also involved in bringing a music festival to franklinville as well. I live in randleman now because it was closer to greensboro, but I would love to see asheboro embrace the creative community that I didn’t feel like was happening in the past decade, and feel like I need to be part of that.North carolina

COATES: good question. It certainly varies based on what the student studied, but the job market has been improving year after year. Certainly in the lighting and technical theater area it has expanded greatly in the last 20 years. With the addition of DPAC to belk and raleigh energy center, there is an ever-expanding number of jobs available.

In addition to the performing arts center companies like triad stage, rhinoleap and other resident theater companies also boost the possibilities. In the technical area, there are also all the jobs in support of the entertainment industry as a whole, including rental companies, production companies and consultants.Creative community these folks support all the concerts, special events and corporate events, both in the state and nationwide.

DILLON: I think the employment opportunities for fine arts students is great, but like everything else, that is directly dependent on the student. If a student treats the fine arts as an entrepreneurial opportunity, they are going to be far better off than if they think opportunities are going be handed to them.

I think if you look at four saints, you have an ideal example. Joel and his partners are artists, but they saw a way to turn their art into a business and a community activity.North carolina seriously, if four saints had been in asheboro when my wife and I had the choice to move out of asheboro, we probably wouldn’t have.

College grads in the fine arts with an entrepreneurial spirit are not better or worse off than students majoring in other subject areas. And let’s be honest, getting a fine arts degree nowadays is probably not better or worse than getting a degree in law.

Most importantly, I would argue that a student studying fine arts in a state school and keeping debt to a minimum are really, really well suited to be an economic engine in randolph county and N.C.North carolina look at the pottery industry, and then consider what would happen if that fine arts engine disappeared. I think as a whole, we underestimate the power the fine arts have as an economic engine.

COATES: I can only speak for my students, but we have alum in every aspect of the industry. That includes manufacturers of lighting equipment like ETC — the largest in world — disney, universal, national touring companies, music/concert production, las vegas and companies like cirque du soleil and others, cruise ships, rental companies like bandit lights in nashville, 4wall in new york city and other locations, PRG with multiple locations, architectural design companies, as well a freelance designer in N.Y.North carolina on and off-broadway.

DILLON: I think like other majors, fine arts majors are looking for where the opportunity is. For a long time, I would not have put asheboro on that list. As a mid-westerner that came from an area where if there were three churches, there were three bars, I feel like the lateness of the alcohol referendum set asheboro back as an “arts” community by about a decade. I’m really excited to see how quickly asheboro is making up for lost time.

I understand how harsh this sounds … but I had somewhat written asheboro off. Except for burrito brothers, which is worth the drive, but my wife and I began focusing our creative efforts on greensboro and winston.Fine arts I even built the bands I play with around greensboro and didn’t even pursue bookings in asheboro, but in the past few months I think asheboro is stepping up its game. I think start-ups like rhinoleap and four saints have a lot to do with that.

I know this is a roundabout way of answering the question, but I think that outlook for fine arts is great in communities that support fine arts. In randolph county, if you’re a potter that is there, if you’re a photographer that’s there, and slowly, if you’re in other fine arts, asheboro is slowly starting to look up. It’s been simply that historically, the opportunities were not there.Creative community

COATES: I believe that the arts in general are an integral part of our cultural identity. In any community that is active and growing in numbers, intellectually and emotionally, an active live theatre is a plus. There is something special in live performance, be it music, theatre or dance. The shared experience of live performance is unique and different from all other art solely based on the fact that it is shared.

There is always the cultural part of the arts, but what is often neglected is the community and economic impact. The local theater is not just a gathering place — it adds to the economic fabric of a community.North carolina other nearby businesses can and usually do benefit. Restaurants add diners, coffee and dessert shops get the after-theater crowd. The local lumber yard and hardware store will provide the materials for sets. The people working at the theater will spend in the community.

DILLON: I think that rhinoleap is taking a huge risk for asheboro, which is the kind of leadership asheboro needs. This will take time, and I celebrate and admire people willing to stick their necks out for the community. Imagine an asheboro that people make a destination not just because of the zoo, but also because of the awesome arts scene.Fine arts

When I travel around the united states, people mistake asheboro for asheville. How awesome would it be to go somewhere in the united states and have them know exactly where asheboro is because our arts scene is so great?