“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation.”
– Lyndon B Johnson
“Whether it’s a community gathering, play, musical entertainment or fine arts, Elgin truly has it all.”
– Elgin Mayor David Kaptain
A vibrant community depends on arts and culture. We live in a diverse, growing, and, indeed, vibrant city, filled with great variety and opportunities in all aspects of creative art. Elgin is a city with this kind of vision – a vision toward how music, theatre, and all of the arts benefit every one of its citizens.
Elgin is a town of around 110,000, and its arts scene is an incredible asset that far outweighs the population. It has classical music: Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Master Chorale, Chamber Music on the Fox, Soiree Lyrique, and Heartland Voices. For theatre, you can see a play by the Janus Theatre Ensemble, Elgin Theatre Company, or Elgin Summer Theatre. Side Street Studio and Artspace are hubs for local events as well as impressive art galleries. And there are ample opportunities for young people to get involved, including Elgin Youth Symphony, Elgin Master Chorale Children’s Chorus, Hamilton Wings, and Children’s Theatre of Elgin. The Fringe Festival, Literary Festival, Art & Soul on the Fox, and Short Film Festival are annual events that bring Elgin together. And there are many, many more!
But why invest in the arts? What makes arts organizations and events so critical to the well-being of a city? And what makes them a worthy place to put your resources?
The arts provide true prosperity. Arts organizations, just like any other human service organization, care for our citizens. They care for the souls of our neighbors, enabling people to find fulfillment in life. They bring beauty, inspiration, and joy to our every-days.
The arts promote unity. Few things bring individuals together on a meaningful level like a shared experience. Whether it is a night out at a concert, weekend plans at a festival, or seeing your child show his/her individuality through artistic expression, the arts bring people into a sense of togetherness. This attitude, when fostered by a vital arts scene, means that individuals become a community.
The arts enrich the local economy. When thinking about an artistic event, at first you may just see an art showing, or a concert, or a play. But this is just the first layer of what this event means to the town in which it is held. If the event is held downtown, this means that those people are spending time and money at local establishments. A lively arts scene is a tourist attraction, encouraging people to come from other Chicagoland locations and invest in Elgin, promoting Elgin’s reputation far beyond the city limits.
This Giving Tuesday, I hope you will see the amazing variety and number of arts nonprofits here in Elgin that are worthy of your gift. Together, we can bring the joy, education, and life enrichment that the arts offer to everyone in our community.
About Elizabeth Niemeier
Elizabeth is the Executive Director of the Elgin Master Chorale. Elgin Master Chorale is vocal ensemble of approximately 100 adult singers and is home to the EMC Children’s Chorus. It was formed in 1947, under the name Elgin Choral Union, when local musician Dean Chipman had a vision of a large-enough vocal ensemble to perform Brahms’ famed German Requiem. His dream became reality when 192 singers from over 15 local choirs joined together to give voice to this grand work.