The successful planning at Trollwood/Bluestem

By Dr. Jeffrey Schatz, Superintendent of Schools

For more than a year, the Bluestem Center for the Arts, Fargo School District, Trollwood Performing Arts School and the City of Moorhead have received more than their share of attention in the local media. The information shared in the media is usually sensationalized and not always fully accurate.

As of August 1, 2012, Fargo Public Schools assumed responsibility for the oversight of the daily operations at the Center due to the 501(c)3 organization, also named Bluestem Center for the Arts, reaching financial insolvency and deciding to dissolve. With this responsibility, FPS is also charged with ensuring the facility is used as a regional arts facility due to a matching grant that was given by the state of Minnesota to assist in having the Center constructed. The Trollwood Performing Arts School staff, led by Director Kathy Anderson, have been working diligently since August 1 to manage and expand the use of the Center as a regional arts facility. (For an explanation on the difference between Trollwood and Bluestem, read Broc Lietz’s column from April 19, 2012.) The staff has been partnering with local arts groups and The Arts Partnership, to draw arts groups to the center.

This winter and spring, Moorhead Community Ed will be offering dance classes at the Center. The first concert in the amphitheater of the 2013 season was announced recently – “Trampled by Turtles” on May 10 – and more concert announcements will be forthcoming. The concert series, along with a host of other events, are being planned by the Trollwood staff in earnest.

Trollwood Performing Arts School (TPAS) is prepared for another great season of classes and performances in 2013 at the Center. The main stage musical will be Shrek: The Musical, for which auditions will be held in February. For more information on the auditions and the TPAS program, visit www.trollwood.org. While TPAS is the cornerstone program at the facility, it is definitely not the only event that takes place there.

Currently, Fargo Public Schools continues to work with the City of Moorhead to finalize legal matters associated with the dissolution of the Bluestem organization. FPS administrators have been working collaboratively with the City of Moorhead staff on all of these issues. Their staff has been taking this information to their council at recent meetings, where the council is discussing it as public bodies often do. While this has caused a great deal of media attention, we are all working together to find an agreeable solution to the issues at hand. I am hopeful that by time the snow melts we will have these issues behind us, and the original purpose and mission of this facility will be realized during the spring and summer months.

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