Page 5 - GRSF 2016 Annual Report
P. 5
2016 ANNUAL REPORT From the Board Chair
When Paul Barnes, Alec Wild, and Mark Hauck created the germ of the idea for the Great River Shakespeare Festival, and opened the  rst season in Winona, Minn., we have to wonder if they envisioned the profound impact it would have on our community, region, and inhabitants.
In that  rst season of 2004, GRSF, as it is familiarly called, produced Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Winter’s Tale — one a bountiful story of love found and the other the bleak story of loss. Audi- ences were mesmerized by the plays, and many saw them two or three times in the too-short summer season.
Never before had the region had access to professional theater that stayed more than
a day or two. And here it was, in repertory on a stage blocks away from the Mississippi River, for a full summer run. Accessible to all.
Anecdotally, that  rst summer of GRSF was not only the seed, but the warmth, the water and the fertilizer, for an incredible arts boom in the region. Film, classical music, bluegrass music, eclectic indie music,  ne arts—the arts in all forms—seemed to bloom full-grown overnight, like Venus emerging from the sea. Unlike the goddess, though, this art bloom arose from the waters of the mysterious Mississippi to the beautiful wood- ed bluffs towering over the valley. It joined and complemented our unique architecture
created by the early settlers, and our indig- enous art forms. Winona and the region, since the opening of GRSF, became synony- mous with Art in the minds of Minnesotans and many beyond the state’s borders.
GRSF has continued to bloom. Its peren- nial presence in the region is accomplished not only in its summer plays and education programs, but through educational offerings throughout the year for children and adults alike.
GRSF must always be in the minds of audiences and donors in order to fund the Festival during its six-week summer run. A full-time administrative staff, led by the Managing Director, accomplishes much during the year on very little. Like any arts organization, GRSF continually reaches for the gold ring all year long for the summer reward of golden theater on our stages.
The Artistic Director spends the long win- ter months visualizing the coming season, and hiring professional artists from all over the country to accomplish what audiences have consistently found to be outstanding theater.
Join GRSF in celebrating our upcoming 14th season, and the renaissance of arts in Southeastern Minnesota.
Fran Edstrom
Board Chair

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