Leadership Waxahachie spent the day in “culture” shock as they dove into the world of fine arts Thursday, Dec. 20.

Beginning their arts and culture day at the Waxahachie Chautauqua, members of the leadership team were enlightened on such organizations as the Waxahachie Arts Council, the Chautauqua, the Waxahachie Symphony, Bethlehem Revisited and the Waxahachie Community Theater.

Speaking on behalf of the Arts Council, President Liz Tull explained that the council helps fund all the organizations represented at the meeting. 

“We receive 25 percent from the city’s hotel/motel tax,” Tull said. “And then we distribute that money to each group. So as you can see, the arts council is very important to the community.”

Following Tull’s introduction, Kirk Hunter and Maureen Moore of the Chautauqua Preservation Society provided background information about the Chautauqua and the impact it has had on the community.

“Right now, we are sitting in one of the most incredible buildings ever designed,” Hunter said. “This place is a true testament of what can happen when a small group of people, with like minds, can do.”

Sherry Dyess was on hand representing the Waxahachie Symphony. She serves as the president of the organization and said their main objective is to expose children to all types of music.

“We host several concerts and events throughout the course of the year,” Dyess said. “We want to encourage people to bring their children to these events. We want them to be well-rounded individuals and understand that there are many genres of music available to them.”

In addition to hosting concerts and events, the organization is also committed to giving back to the community by providing music programs specifically for children, its Belles and Beaus program and funding scholarships.

Co-chair for Bethlehem Revisited Hilda Chapman said they are thankful for the financial support they receive from the Arts Council, because it takes a lot to produce a dramatization such as theirs.

“Each year, we have seen this show grow by leaps and bounds,” Chapman said. “The first year of our production it was half the size it is now, and it takes many cast members and volunteers to make this happen each year.”

Waxahachie Community Theater Executive Director Kasi Jones explained to the members in attendance that without the funds from the arts council and Chautauqua building, they would have a really tough time. 

“The monies from the council help us to produce really great shows for the people in the community,” Jones said. “We perform two productions a year in this very building (referring to the Chautauqua), and couldn’t do what we do without their support.”

After their stay at the Chautauqua, members of the leadership team ventured over to the Ellis County Museum where they received some historical facts from Shannon Simpson, Paul Stevens and Becky Kauffman. 

Kauffman spoke on Historic Waxahachie Inc. Stevens discussed with the group the purpose of the Waxahachie Heritage Preservation Commission. And Simpson spoke on the historical background of the museum.


Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.