PAC event underscores the growing momentum toward equality and fairness in NCW
I am proud to live in a valley and a region where there is a growing community commitment to inclusion, social justice, equality and fairness. This inspires me.
This local movement is particularly significant today, when our national political environment is moving in the opposite direction with unprecedented and heartless attacks on fundamental American ideals.
I sat down with Matt Cadman, the long-time educator and current executive director of the Numerica Performing Arts Center, to talk about these values and about the amazing performance of “The Mountaintop” on Friday, that kicks off a weekend where we celebrate the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King.
I encourage you to listen to our full conversation and hear Matt speak in his own words about his unwavering commitment to inclusion. You can listen to my podcast at artofcommunityncw.com or via iTunes.
Matt has an unwavering commitment to making the arts accessible to everyone in North Central Washington, because as he says so eloquently, art changes lives.
A significant percentage of our neighbors who are in poverty and in many cases are Latino never get exposed to professional theatrical performances, so Matt and the PAC board have gone all in to program shows that bring diverse people in our community together as well as striving to give every child in the region an opportunity to experience the performing arts free of charge. That program is called Every Kid at the PAC (EKAP) and is funded by local donors. Last year, 7,000 kids from several communities were able to take advantage of the opportunity.
Prior to the public performance of The Mountaintop, the performers will put on the show for 538 students as part of the 2018 EKAP program. What an amazing opportunity to impact students.
Here’s how Matt describes his crusade: “It’s not my job to change their lives, but I really do believe its my job to open up as many eyes as possible and let the spirit move them.”
When he took over the leadership of the PAC five years ago, there was a feeling in the community that the theater was for rich white people, Matt told me. With EKAP and creative programming, the PAC more fully reflects the diversity of our community. Matt said he is driven to do more because the need is so significant.
There’s a faith component to his commitment. “The good book says that to him who is given much, much will be required,” Matt said. “The whole purpose of life is to give back, isn’t it,” he asked and then added, “That might not be the political tone right now (in the country).”
Standing up for justice, basic human rights, equality and inclusion is a core value here in North Central Washington. We need to stand up for the idea that this community is for everyone and that as Matt says, we are our brother’s keeper.
At the heart of his commitment to inclusion and equality is a desire to create ways so that people of diverse backgrounds have opportunities to gather together and see each other as equals sharing in experiences.
On Saturday, the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center will host its Multicultural Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. I hope we see a great community showing for this event that allows us to experience the rich diversity of our region and rub elbows with our neighbors.
We are exceedingly fortunate that Matt Cadman and the PAC are leading the way in making this a community where everyone is respected, valued and welcome.