The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

Bremmer, Gregg, Piper, & Rose 39

Emory & Henry will bring in things and do things that no one else is doing in this region because they’re an educational institution. They’re going to look at the world differently, and they’re going to bring in stuff that we could never sell. They can bring them in because they have the resources and the abilities, and their faculty have connections. They’re going to do things that the region would never get to experience. That’s only to everybody’s benefit. Yes, it’s competition, but I don’t worry about that competition. I celebrate it and embrace it fully. BG: I think the larger competition is from other forms of entertainment and living near Asheville, North Carolina, where food, music, and alcohol are bigger entertainment sources. RR: I actually think the bigger issue, and I’m going to say it right here, is that colleges and media have turned to sports as the entire world of everything. They’ve associated school loyalty with the football teams or the basketball teams, depending on what your thing is. Sports have become the all-encompassing thing of American culture and media while professional performance arts events far surpass admissions to spectator sports. Yet key publications, such as The New York Times, spent more print on sports and less print on the arts than they did in past years. They’re down to a small core of

arts reviewers and writers. Why is that? Because Boomer men read the papers and Boomer men don’t give a crap about performing arts events. Even though they go, they don’t think of it as an economic driver. Sports have encompassed the United States now. Audience Member: You haven’t seen NASCAR as a way to tap into a new audience? All three: We tried! RR: We actually advertised to the NASCAR audiences, but it’s not that they’re different. It’s just that a large percentage of the NASCAR’s audience is just not likely to come to the theatre. Nonetheless, we do see it as a viable source. One of the things we’re doing is connecting with the outdoor culture of our area. There’s been a big push in Abingdon for the Creeper Trail and toward the Creeper Trail because hiking and outdoor biking and all that kind of stuff is very prevalent in culture now. We thought, “Ooh, is that going to be a bad tourist sector for us?” But as the director of the Chamber of Commerce in Abingdon put it, “The Barter patrons don’t Creep, but the Creeper patrons do Barter.” We found it to be a very good market for us.

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker