ArtCentral: Anticipation

By Elizabeth Freer
Matthews Opera House, ArtCentral Manager

Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral Mgr.

There is a spirit of anticipation in the air. The fall shadowy light and fun creativity of Halloween set the stage for Thanksgiving, and then we eagerly await the winter holidays with the arrival of snow, holiday lights, and decorations. It is time for snowmen and snow angels, hot chocolate and decorated cookies.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or the Winter Solstice, this month is filled with feasts, story-telling, treats, generosity, imagination, creativity, and community. We share stories that blend fact and fiction and are enhanced by the memory of years gone by. We engage our imaginations, bringing a certain magic to the season. There is art and creativity in all of these celebrations!

Holidays connect us to our culture, our ancestors, and our community. We enjoy special clothing and music, decorating our homes, making recipes that have been passed down for generations, and sharing family traditions with either the next generation of friends. We broaden our community by taking the time to learn about another culture, celebration, or tradition. All are celebrated with a spirit of thankfulness and generosity.

At times, the holiday season can feel heavy with the weight of pressures to buy the perfect item (at the perfect sale price) or to purchase gifts we really can’t afford. Or, perhaps our hearts are heavy reflecting on the loss of someone no longer with us.

It is the time of year when we are most generous. We extend holiday greetings to strangers and friends alike, wishing all good health for the coming year. The most treasured gifts are often either a complete surprise (How did “Santa” know I wanted this?) or were handmade with care. Gifts that are made by the kiddos are simply the sweetest and the best. They are so thoughtful, generous, and creative.

We anticipate what might be in that beautifully wrapped package, but anticipate even more how much our loved ones will enjoy the gifts we offer to them.

We celebrate the closing of one year by reflecting on the past, both the good and the hard, and hold eager anticipation and raise a glass with the hope of what will come in the next year.

So, in this season of reflection and celebration, we look back on the past year and celebrate the way our community has embraced creativity and ArtCentral. We hold eager anticipation of plans for the coming year that will continue to strengthen our community through the arts.

There are so many exciting projects in the works for 2018 including re:Create (a community makerspace), a 4-part film festival, and more!

Use your imagination, suspend your disbelief, and pretend that creativity isn’t just for the kids anymore! Will you join us in carrying this spirit of anticipation and creativity through the holidays and into 2018?

ArtCentral is a community collaboration, funded by a 2016 Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant, to centralize the arts as an integrated asset for inclusivity, economic development, and outreach in Spearfish. As this is a community-based project, we welcome feedback and suggestions, as well as volunteers. Please contact us by email at [email protected] if you are interested in volunteering or have suggestions.


Lead by Elizabeth Freer, ArtCentral manager at The Matthews, the project brings together a committee of advocates, artists, and residents working together over two years to create a new model for arts planning and outreach, focusing on the themes of belonging, inclusion, equity, rural connectedness, cultivating creativity, imagining space, and the arts as a community development catalyst.

“I am excited for this opportunity to work in Spearfish with The Matthews on this innovative and important project to advance the arts in our community,” stated Freer. “I encourage local residents who are interested in participating in this process to apply to be a part of the committee.”