The Norris Cultural Arts Center has been a cultural cornerstone of our community since opening in 1978. In architecture, the cornerstone determines the position of the entire structure, and is something to build on.
Over the years, The Norris has not been content in simply providing a cultural footing. We have continued building on that foundation – changing and growing with the times while staying true to the vision and mission of our founders, Dellora and Lester Norris, to provide the finest cultural arts experiences to audiences and patrons of all ages and from all walks of life.
The pandemic created new challenges that we faced head-on through the last half of 2020, and that we continue managing as we plan our events and exhibits for 2021.
In early October of 2020, our board agreed to produce “A Baker’s Dozen Holiday Festival,” a free, 13-day online holiday festival, featuring brief performances by local singers, bands, ensembles, dancers and actors recorded at the historic Baker Community Center in downtown St. Charles. The series ran online from December 12 through 24, available for viewing on a new Norris channel on YouTube and on the Norris website (into which we have integrated a new section for delivering video content).
The videos cumulatively attracted 5,000 views and uniformly positive feedback from performers and viewers alike. The festival provided a much-needed opportunity for the performers who, for the most part, had been inactive since March. And it uniquely showcased St. Charles as a hub for the performing arts – even in the midst of a pandemic.
Looking ahead, we plan to video record all future events for broadcast on The Norris website. Also in 2021, we expect to relaunch our three event series – Saturday night concerts at the Baker Community Center, Wednesday afternoon multi-media presentations also at The Baker, and Sunday afternoon concerts in The Norris art gallery. We also expect to use the gallery throughout 2021 for the annual Watercolor and Vicinity exhibits, as well as exhibits presented by local artist groups.
We look forward to creating new ways of engaging our audience and supporters, to respond to their concerns and expectations, and to effectively communicate with them as we produce new events, both live and virtual. As we continue adapting to “the new normal” and beyond, we renew our commitment to transparency, open communication and responsiveness in assuring the safest and most welcoming environment. We look forward to continuous improvement in all aspects of our service in support of the arts.
We welcome your support, and we take seriously our stewardship of any assets contributed to our operations and capital projects.