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Cover Story - Posted August 25, 2017 10:24 a.m.
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A Look at the Arts in Amarillo

What makes a city great? That’s a question without a bad answer. Ask it of Amarillo locals and you’ll hear replies about the people who live here, the dry climate and cost of living, or the relative ease in getting from one side of town to the other. (Well, most years.)

Ask it of visitors and they’ll talk about the attractions. Amarillo has plenty of these, from Palo Duro Canyon to Cadillac Ranch to the vestiges of western heritage reflected in our rodeos, ranches, and certain kitschy interstate restaurants.

But one draw that appeals to both residents and travelers is a city’s culture. And for a city of 200,000-plus in the middle of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo has way more culture – from the performing arts to the visual arts – than anyone might expect. A world-class performing arts center. A symphony that’s approaching its 100th birthday. A nationally recognized community theater program. An opera with an outsized budget for a city this size. A church with an organ that has literally captured the attention of some of the world’s greatest musicians.

Here in Amarillo, the cultural opportunities that arrive with the fall and spring performance seasons are easy to take for granted, because they’re so familiar. From the Lone Star Ballet’s annual Nutcracker to the Georgia O’Keeffe watercolors at Amarillo Museum of Art, they’re simply pieces of a much larger cultural quilt.

But the truth is, they’re each very, very special. That’s why we’ve dedicated this issue to highlighting the arts in Amarillo.

We’ll start by paying tribute to Ann Crouch, the late entrepreneur and artist whose vision single-handedly gave birth to The Galleries at Sunset Center and its popular First Friday Art Walk, both of which have become central to the local culture.

After that we’ll profile Amarillo’s major arts institutions and detail their coming performance and exhibit seasons.

Some of these organizations may be part of your life already. Others may be brand new. But all are worth giving a try this season, because all contribute to what makes Amarillo great.

Amarillo Little Theatre and the ALT Academy

Amarillo Museum of Art

Saint Ann of Amarillo

Chamber Music Amarillo

Friends of Aeolian-Skinner Opus 1024

Lone Star Ballet

Amarillo Opera

Amarillo Symphony

by Jason Boyett

Jason has written more than a dozen books and is the host and creator of “Hey Amarillo”, a local interview podcast. Visit heyamarillo.com and jasonboyett.com.
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