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story.lead_photo.caption Adaleigh Lummus, sits on Santa Claus' lap in front of the Perot Theatre during TRAHC's first Holiday Traditions event in 2018. TRAHC plans to continue the annual holiday festivities this year. Photo by Gazette file photo

TEXARKANA, Texas — Although the Perot Theatre may be silent now, the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council has plenty going on and just kicked off its membership drive.
TRAHC Marketing Coordinator Tiffani Whitehead said with a pandemic changing activities at TRAHC and stopping Perot ticket sale revenue, membership dollars are essential to keeping the nonprofit arts agency afloat and open.
Flyers went out last week and this drive will be ongoing for the 2020-2021 season.
"Membership is always vital to the continuation of TRAHC and all of the sub-programs that TRAHC has, but this year it's incredibly more important than ever because of the dynamics of the economy and the Perot shutting down, which is a revenue point for TRAHC to continue that mission of growing the community and people through the arts," Whitehead said. "Having those members support us is vital."
Even though the Perot is not opening its doors for shows now, TRAHC aims to be ready to open those doors as soon as it's safe and possible to do that, she said.
"And we can't do that without the funds ahead of time," Whitehead said. "The membership not only supports the Perot Theatre, it'll support programs at Arts on Main when that building opens back up. Regional Arts Center is still open to the public with modified hours."
TRAHC's education department has changed its art teaching by adding an Art to Go program — "in lieu of the Arts on Main camps that would normally be going on," Whitehead said. It's been wildly successful and may continue when the building opens up again, she said.
"Without those membership funds we really can't do any of those programs," Whitehead said.
The RAC has been open for a couple of months already, and TRAHC will now prepare for the annual adult juried art show, which will be international in scope again.
"Those are ways TRAHC reaches people across the world and then brings those people to Texarkana," Whitehead said. "The education department has opened that door to bring education into people's homes when the schools were closed while they're home for the summer. We hope to continue bringing those artists into the schools once that gets geared back up."
As well, the popular Theatre for Young Audiences lineup at the Perot should be ready to restart in the spring when schools have committed to spring shows, she explained.
"Membership helps move all of that forward," Whitehead said, noting they have nothing concrete yet for other new Perot shows but they're working to reschedule a couple of events canceled from the 2019-2020 season.
"Things are so fluid forward and backwards, we take two steps forward, we go three back," Whitehead said. "We think we're getting something solid we can announce to the people and something changes, and it's rarely on our end. It's usually on the producers or the production itself."
She said TRAHC Executive Director Brian Goesl is working hard to schedule shows around Christmas and beyond.
Hot Springs, Ark.-based opera troupe The Muses will return in September for a performance, including social distancing measures, at the Regional Arts Center. Perot movies will be planned for Halloween and again in December with the annual Holiday Traditions.
"Beyond that we're just not sure what else will take place," Whitehead said, noting movies they can do because they supply the staff and movies. It's a way to get people out of the house and into the Perot.
Things are still happening at TRAHC, and membership supports this. Memberships, which run through Aug. 31 of next year, start at $50.
"They all have different levels of perks that go with it," Whitehead said. "Every dollar counts, so even a $50 membership is very impactful with what we do as a community organization. They go up to $2,500 and beyond. If a business wants to help sponsor an event, put on a program itself, we welcome those funds and will offer a marketing and incentive package specific to that business if that opportunity comes up."
Membership helps to keep the doors open, which in turn nurtures the community at large.
"Arts is way beyond a canvas. It goes through the creative process. It creates engineers and fashion designers. It's not about a canvas or clay. Starting in the school systems is where TRAHC thrives in our area and then it will grow beyond and those artists will impact our economies from now on," Whitehead said.
(More info: TRAHC.org or 903-792-4992 and 903-792-8681.) 

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