By Paris Wolfe, Contributing Writer
When Robin Vogel was two or three years old, her mom enrolled her in a class at the Ashtabula Arts Center. She continued taking classes every summer through her late teen years. Not only did she enjoy the experience, she came away with more confidence and a tiara collection.
“I could write a novel about the benefits of taking art and theater classes,” she says. “To keep it brief I learned self-discipline and commitment. I learned to be creative and think outside the sphere.”
Rather than narrow these experiences to one favorite, she says, “I don’t believe in favorites. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences that are all so different, I couldn’t begin to compare them. My highlights reel includes working on The Nutcracker, creating props for plays, running tech, and helping with Kid’s Day Out.”
Robin encourages others to enroll in the fine arts classes for entertainment and skill developmentand to become part of a caring community where lifelong friends are easily made.
“We are so fortunate to have this resource in our community. In all the places I’ve been or lived I have never encountered another facility with dance, theater, music and visual arts under one roof, let alone one that consistently holds classes and puts on productions of such high quality,” she says. “Through the Arts Center I’ve taken class with individuals who have gone on to become professional dancers and been part of theater productions with cast members who are now acting on Broadway. Outside of select schools in New York and California, where does onefind those opportunities?!”
As for the tiara collection? Robin has participated in The Nutcracker Party Scene for years. She says, “It seems that every year I find at least one new tiara to freshen up my costume.”
Robin’s experience performing in The Nutcracker is one that will be open to the entire community this year, as Ballet Theatre Ashtabula is offering a Nutcracker Production Experiencethis fall, in which participants will be cast in various roles in the Party Scene, Battle Scene, and more. Anyone interested should call the Arts Center at (440) 964-3396 to register.
Robin lives in Ashtabula and is Council Coordinator for the Ashtabula County Family and Children First Council.