CRESTVIEW — Area arts and cultural organizations are focusing on the following.
●Community theatre: View From the Stage, the community theatre troupe, has scheduled "The Miracle Worker" for its April play. The troupe seeks partnership opportunities with other venues, possibly Crestview High School, due to Warriors Hall's costly rental fees. Sandra Peters, View's co-founder, says the troupe could bring lighting and sound equipment, sets and professional instruction and expertise to an educational partnership.
●Student theatre: Crestview High School's drama program will present "Happy Days: The Musical," a stage adaptation of the TV series. The show is scheduled for May 1-3. Journey Java Connection begins winter KidzAct student theatre classes Feb. 4 and 7.
●Art connections: The Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's Arts and Culture Committee is launching a program to place local artists' works in area businesses, replacing off-the-rack prints and reproductions.
●Triple B: The Arts and Culture Committee is helping the barbecue festival's planners to recruit performers. Committee chairwoman Rae Schwartz says her group is investigating covering the south stage to protect performers from the sun. In addition, the committee hopes to have an eating area near the south stage, to alleviate crowding at north Main Street eating areas and draw a larger crowd for south stage performers.
●Sister City Program: The community's relationship with Crestview's partner city, Noirmoutier-en-l'Île, France, will be emphasized at a spring downtown showcase. In March, a Northwest Florida State College delegation will visit the University of Nantes, near Noirmoutier, to discuss a possible internship exchange program. Two Crestview High School student groups are planning summer trips to Noirmoutier.
●History and heritage: Events include May 3's spring Arts and Heritage Festival in Laurel Hill, which organizers hope will be a smaller version of the Baker Heritage Festival, held annually the first Saturday in November. The Baker Block Museum is proceeding with plans to open the Baker Mercantile Store at the end of February, and will hold the annual Family Heritage Wall of Honor induction in May. The museum and its research library now assist the News Bulletin with "Exploring North Okaloosa History," a weekly column.
Challenges: Schwartz says all local arts, heritage and cultural groups face these challenges:
•Finding effective venues for cultural events
•Finding effective ways to publicize them
•Educating local professionals and government leaders on "the importance of the arts in attracting new businesses by enhancing the community's livability, in order to encourage their involvement with, and support for, the arts and culture in our community."