I am overwhelmed. I’m having a hard time understanding what has happened in the last few weeks. I’d be lying if I said I expected things to unfold like this.

I wanted an arts center.

It fell through.

I didn’t panic.

It came true.

I thought I could do a quick shout out on Facebook to express how much it meant to me.

What a fool.

Because the first place fell through I was forced into making it through the Christmas season (a photographer’s dream!) and was able to save up enough money to cover a down payment on the building, buy a crap ton of paint and put oil in the tank – and then wait (with baited breath and just enough to cover it) for the next oil delivery to be needed.

We’re half way there.

Why? Because in LESS THEN A MONTH I’ve had over 30 volunteers show up, on their own, to help me transform a 12,000 square foot building in a tenth the time it would have taken your average bear/s.

They deserve a bigger shout out than a blanket ‘thanks guys!’ on Facebook.

Hunter made sure we had theatre seating beyond our wildest dreams. HUGE thanks go out to The Playhouse at McConnellstown. Oh, but then, just when you thought his awesomeness already knew no bounds, he came out to paint, clean, trouble shoot electric and right hand man the ‘Sneak Peek’ soiree. If theatre doesn’t bond people I simply don’t know what does.

Jim David came in straight off the sidewalk. He saw us working hard and simply wanted to help. He will forever be a part of our team, our hearts, our artwork and the memories building this amazing space day after day.

Bryan came to theatre camp barely 16yrs old. He was hesitant to be there at all. Now I don’t know how we’d do this without him. If I can raise an 18yr old, even half as reliable, hardworking, enthusiastic and passionate I’ll know I did something right.

And Jamon. Who are you??? I ask myself that daily. He works the graveyard shift at UPS, comes in to help the center immediately after and then studies for his insurance exams. Let me tell you what I was doing at 22… (ok, maybe another blog).

Phyllis: The woman who tolerated me and then taught me everything I had no idea I needed to know. Without Phyllis… I shudder to think.

Alan: You know. <3

This is just a few of the AMAZING people who see me. I mean really see me and have trusted that I will make good on my promise.

They come out to help. They offer passion, enthusiasm, bad lip-syncing, (out loud syncing), a pat on the back, a crock-pot of deliciousness, a six pack, a pep talk…

Thank you to my family, friends, fellow artists and community supporting our efforts. We are so close to having a haven – a beautiful, creative haven. I will not quit until the stage is built, seats are in and doors & hearts are open.



Author Julie Ufema

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