David Dower, Associate Artistic Director for Arena Stage
It’s been just incredible to watch. The confluence of the merchants, the residents, and the local-- whatever the really local, micro-local government structures are-- all coming together to say, "This matters to us." Now, it's not all just subsidies. Some of it is subsidy, but what the merchants were doing was they were marketing their restaurants to our patrons and through our patrons, and so we weren't asking them for anything other than "Be open and have a quality product, and be there." And so some of it is really just being neighbors and being citizens. People at Steppenwolf talk quite a bit about the role of Steppenwolf as a citizen of its community, and they've really developed this notion, and I think we're taking a page out of there, both in trying to feel that everywhere we go. "What is our citizenship opportunity here, not just our responsibility?" And I think there's a certain amount of hand-out in the world of cash, and there's an awful lot of heart-out going back the other way that I think actually turns into a commodity for the neighbors and the merchants and the city itself. So I think there's a lot of studies, lot of conversation about that impact of the arts as an economic engine. I think sometimes we overlook the impact as a sort of intrinsic-- a humanizing engine as well.
David Dower, associate artistic director of Arena Stage, talks about a transformative conversation he had recently outside the doors of the Lincoln Theatre for the production of Arena?s Sophisticated Ladies in this podcast excerpt. [1:55]