Special to the Herald TimesMEEKER I The Meeker Arts and Cultural Council (MACC) held a workshop Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, featuring Colorado Creative Industries consultant Nancy Kramer as the facilitator. Nancy is a highly experienced and talented arts and cultural council consultant, and has served in many capacities for the highly successful Steamboat Springs Community Arts Council programs since 1973. She has since facilitated the organization of many arts councils throughout Colorado with great success.Kramer explained, “Colorado Arts and Cultural programs are now called Creative Industries because they comprise the fifth largest source of revenue production in the state and thus greatly contribute to the economy and resultant job opportunities for the Citizens of Colorado.”“One of many examples of such successes is the internationally acclaimed 40-year-old Creede Repertory Theatre which annually brings renowned actors and theatre productions to the small mountain community,” Kramer stated, adding, “The program draws a large national and international audience clientele who travel to Colorado and thus contribute to the overall economy. In a time of economic downturn, the continuing popularity of many entertainment and cultural venues comprising Creative Industries show great promise for economic improvement.” She noted that “Even during the severe hardships of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the American people continued to heavily patronize the movies and a wide variety of performing arts and other live entertainment in their communities.”When asked what drives their interest in the arts, MACC coordinators Gary and Laurie Zellers said, “Our vision is to ultimately make Meeker one of the top Colorado communities for a wide variety of arts and cultural programs that draw many visitors and guests to enjoy first class entertainment and cultural attractions and in so doing to help improve our economy.”Laurie added, “Current examples of successful Meeker arts and cultural events include the internationally recognized Meeker Classic Sheep Dog Trials, the annual (more than 125 years old) Range Call celebration and much more. However, much more can be accomplished.”They went on to say, “Our young people can derive great benefits from exposure to and participation in high quality performing and fine arts programs that prepare them for their future careers and avocational interests.”“Participation in performing and fine arts programs have been shown to greatly enhance superior performance in many academic disciplines including math, science, and creative writing, as well as performance in athletics, improved self-confidence, interpersonal communications and leadership skills so vitally necessary to future success in higher education and subsequent high income careers,” Laurie said.Gary and Laurie have directed the highly successful Meeker High School Drama Club musical performing arts productions since 2003. More recently Laurie directed “Annie, Jr.” to give elementary, middle and high school students an opportunity to perform together through the Rec. District’s “Center Stage Youth Theatrical Group.”They are currently directing the Meeker High School Drama Club and International Thespian Society Troupe 1284’s spring musical production of the popular Broadway show and motion picture, “Grease” which will be presented on April 23-24 at the high school auditorium. Laurie will also direct the annual Range Call Pageant during the July 4 celebration.When asked how MACC can achieve these goals for the youth and adults of Meeker, Gary said, “MACC is a community-based coalition or ‘umbrella group’ of individuals and organizations representing a broad spectrum of interests and resources. When coordinated effectively, MACC can help to bring the many and varied creative talents and resources of the community together in a common and unified purpose.” There are many small rural communities throughout Colorado and the nation who have achieved great successes through arts and cultural councils.” “Meeker is blessed to have a plethora of resident artists, highly talented youth and adults and cultural resources which can all greatly benefit through growing their arts and sharing their talents with appreciative audiences. The key to reaching these goals is to coordinate and promote talents and resources through development of a wide variety of enrichment programs and creation or enhancement of quality venues coordinated through the MACC, Laurie stated.“As with any organizational development process, an investment of time, talent and resources are needed. Development of substantial funding through partnerships with businesses and corporations as well as grants from philanthropic foundations, is essential to the success of arts and cultural programs. The achievement and products of such investments are realized through the successes of life-changing experiences which influence arts appreciation, and may even inspire future careers and avocations of youth and adults,” Gary said.MACC’s next step will be to identify candidates for formation of a board of directors, officers and task force chairs representing a wide spectrum of interests and abilities. Creation of bylaws and registration as a nonprofit organization will proceed and be formalized at the next MACC meeting. Anyone interested in serving in those capacities or supporting MACC is urged to participate.Membership is open to youth and adults, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend to learn more about the organization and to participate in any capacity they find of interest.MACC would like to express sincere appreciation to Henry and Kris Arcolesse, proprietors of Ma Famiglia Restaurant for their donation of the generous and delicious pasta luncheon on Saturday. MACC also thanks White River Electric Association and Mountain Valley Bank for the use of their meeting facilities.MACC has a website on InMeeker.Com and a Facebook group, as well as an e-mail list serve. To subscribe, send an e-mail to email@example.com with your e-mail address and name. For more information, contact Gary and Laurie Zellers at (970)878-0554.MACC will meet again on Friday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Kilowatt Korner, 6th and Market. Participants in the workshop on Friday and Saturday, included Kay Bivens, Gary Zellers, Laurie Zellers, Stephanie Kobald, Dr. Dave Steinman, Trevor Nielsen, Kami Cochran, Joe Fennesey, Joe Sullivan, Ethel Starbuck, Bob Amick and Nancy Kramer.