20 Years on Auburn Avenue!
On May 9, 2003, Imagination Stage moved from two small, compromised spaces into our beautiful home on Auburn Avenue. Today, the County Council of Montgomery County issued a proclamation saluting our first 20 years in downtown Bethesda! On hand at the Council chambers in Rockville were 17 current and former staff and board members and community supporters. Council Vice President Andrew Friedson, himself a former “BAPA kid” (referencing Imagination Stage’s name prior to the move), spoke personally about what his arts education has meant to him, and read the proclamation. Imagination Stage Managing Director Jason Najjoum spoke about Imagination Stage’s on-going work in positive youth development through the arts in the county and the region, and Imagination Stage Board President Emeritus Robert G. Brewer spoke about the formidable fundraising and organizational efforts that he, Founder Bonnie Fogel, and Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford undertook to secure Imagination Stage’s transformation.
Here is a portion of the Proclamation:
“Whereas, Imagination Stage programs have impacted over 1.5 million young people during the last 20 years with Helen Hayes Award-winning professional theatre productions, international commissions and exchanges, innovative performing arts classes, student shows and camps, accessible and inclusive opportunities for the Deaf community and young people with cognitive and physical disabilities, school residencies and professional development for teachers, as well as free offerings for underserved populations including Title I students, migraine youth, and young people in the juvenile justice system; and
Whereas, Imagination Stage envisions a future where theatre experiences are a fundamental aspect of all children’s lives: nourishing their creative spirit, inspiring them to embrace the complexity and diversity of their world, and helping them overcome their challenges with hope, courage, and above all creatively; and
Whereas, arts participation at all ages, but especially in children and youth, represents an essential ingredient for positive youth development by promoting empathy and understanding across racial and socio-economic divides, facilitating learning, building awareness, increasing self-esteem, spurring critical thinking, and providing safe outlets for emotion and risk-taking as growing brains maximize their potential for imagination and innovation.
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Count Council of Montgomery County, Maryland hereby salutes IMAGINATION STAGE. And be it further resolved that the County Council recognizes that Imagination Stage serves a vital community resource for providing innovative, relevant, accessible, and inclusive theatre and performing arts programs to the people of Montgomery County and beyond.”