Grand event celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Ellen Eccles Theatre renovation

LOGAN РThis year has been designated the Year of the Arts and it will be the local arts that are celebrated in Cache Valley this weekend. Wendy Hassan, executive director of the Cache Valley Center for the Arts, says there will be something for everyone starting Friday.

“At 1 p.m. Friday we will have the ribbon cutting for the Historic Theatre District,” Hassan explains. “We will meet in the promenade of the Ellen Eccles Theatre – where it’s warm – for some snacks and short remarks.

“Then we’re going to go to the corner of Center and Main to have a ribbon cutting to celebrate these three beautiful spaces that are now actively producing theatrical works and films.

“On Saturday morning, there will be free classes of all kinds: dance, drama, music, theater, ceramics and even some historical lectures.”

Self-guided tours of the theaters included in the Historic Theatre District will take place between 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Those facilities include the Ellen Eccles Theatre, the Lyric Theatre, the Utah Theatre, and Dansante.

Hassan says at 5:30 p.m. Saturday there will be a special dinner created by Barney Northrop. Then, she says, things will be capped off with a community celebration at 7:30 p.m. with seven different art groups, 250 performers, four conductors and much more, including bagpipes. 

She says people in Utah have always been good to support the arts. In fact, she says, there is an anecdote in Utah history that says when pioneers first arrived in Cache Valley they were asked, “Can you sing?” If they said yes, those people were allowed to stay.

And, related to that, Hassan says in 1898 Utah elected the second female legislator in state history and that woman was a trailblazer in Utah arts.

“That’s before the rest of the country had given women in the country the right to vote,” Hassan explains. “Her name was Alice Merrill Horne and she ran on a platform of supporting the arts. She won.

“She established the nation’s first arts council which still exists, a collection of art by Utah artists paid for by the state that still exists, and a statewide competition of Utah artists that still exists to this day.”

The huge weekend celebration honors the 25th anniversary of the grand re-opening of the Ellen Eccles Theatre in 1993. Hassan says putting this event together has been an amazing experience.

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