I’m hitting the road today, leaving beautiful Seattle for the inland Midwestern town of LaSalle. You may remember from my post I wrote a while ago that LaSalle is where I grew up and went to school. In that sense it is always home to me, but it will never have the same appeal and beauty as the Pacific Northwest.
There is, however, a small town about a half hour from LaSalle that will help make the transition less painful. Princeton, while smaller than LaSalle, is like a small mecca calling to me. The quaint little shops, the rolling fields, and the wonderful friends that live in the surrounding area, all have a charm and personality that suit me very well.
One of the reasons is Princeton’s penchant for promoting the arts. I was delighted to find the article below recently, because it talks about the Prairie Arts Council and the Princeton Coffeehouse. I was one of the group, along with Deb Young mentioned below, who helped start these organizations. Like my friend Ron McCutchen says in the paragraph quoted below, I am one of those drawn back to this town.
Deb Young is President of the Prairie Arts Council. A Princeton native, she’d lived in Minneapolis for 10 years before returning in 1982.
“When I came back there wasn’t anything that had to do with the arts at all.”
So, Young opened up an art gallery. Then Young found out something. She was not alone. She was asked to form a fine arts committee that put on an outdoor fine arts festival for a number of years. Young also helped start what became the Princeton Coffeehouse.
“Come to find out there was a lot of people looking for things like that, that wanted to take part in this type of thing.”
There had been an arts council in town, but it had gone defunct. Young was asked to start one up again, and with the help of others, she did.
One of those helping was Ron McCutchan, director of programming at the Princeton Public Library. He says that he, Young and Festival 56 theater company founder Dexter Brigham are examples of why the arts started to take off in this spot.
“There’s something about Princeton that brings people back. I mean Dexter went to New York, toured, [then] came back here to start something. I went to New York, worked in publishing, came back to take a publishing job and ended up staying in Princeton here at the library. And I’ve had other friends do the same.”