Sunday, October 21, 2007

SteppingStone Theatre

ADDENDUM: I called the theatre to get information regarding the statue because some of you asked about its origin. COMPAS (Community Arts Programs) is a non-profit organization that offers many progams, one of which includes an artist who works in the summer. They donated the statue to SteppingStone; other than that there is no special significance, or so I've been told.

HISTORY
SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development was founded in 1987 with two artist-in-residence programs at inner-city St. Paul schools that gave students a chance to have a participatory theatre experience. SteppingStone Theatre’s focus has been on reaching out to children and youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in theatre and providing them with an expanding range of educational theatre experiences.

Today, this focus is pursued through the Mainstage, Education, and Outreach Programs. In the past 9 years, led by Artistic Director Richard Hitchler, the theatre has served over 500,000 children, youth, schools and families through their six mainstage shows each year, in-school residencies, theatre classes for youth, and Community Education classes.
New Home
Construction on the former Grace Community Church, located at Victoria Street in St. Paul next to William Mitchell College of Law, began February 2, 2007. SteppingStone Theatre plans to move into its new home in late 2007, to open The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! December 1.

The renovation plans include improvement of the exterior; conversion of the sanctuary into a 430-seat theatre with a proscenium-style stage equipped with modern lighting and sound capabilities; installation of an elevator for accessibility to all areas of the building; and construction of classrooms, dressing rooms and administrative offices on the lower level.

24 comments:

  1. I have saved up old crockery and some old glass for that moment when I'll be inspired to do something in mosaics. Seeing things like your photo is wonderful. If I saw something everyday for a month or so, maybe I'd get out my hammer and cement and grout and go to work.

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  2. I love the mosaic skirt on the statue. It's very attractive and eye catching.

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  3. Is it an interpretation of our "Pere Ubu" from Alfred Jarry? Some months ago there was an exhibition about him in the "mediatheque" of Troyes.
    I put a post on one of my other blog (in french)
    www.deslilas.com

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  4. Very impressive piece of work.

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  5. its a very creative work! i like it a lot!

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  6. All of which sounds like renovation and new construction, to make new use of an old building. Which always sounds good.

    And that is some lady!!!! Or...maybe not a lady. According to one of the other comments, which mentions a 'him.' ,-)

    Mari-Nanci
    Photos-City-Mine

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  7. What a wonder mosaic...the history of the theatre is very interesting.

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  8. Very funny statue...very pleasant to see.

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  9. It is a fine piece of work. I cannot even imagine the patience required to do this but I really admire the finished product.

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  10. What character does the statue represent? Is it the père Ubu as deslilas suggests?

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  11. SteppingStone's website has no information about the statue. The internet has information on the playright and a punk rock group named Pere Ubu, but nothing that can help me with researching the statue. I'll call the theatre next week to see if I can get more information.

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  12. I love mosaics.

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  13. That is a gorgeous statue. Sounds like a great theater program. Wish I could see the upcoming Christmas show.

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  14. Sounds like a very good and succesful initiative! ... and the statue is really nice!

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  15. Hate to say it, but the statue has a kind of Disneyesque theme about it.
    --steve buser
    New Orleans Daily Photo

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  16. Nice to read of the theatrical experiences offered to inner city kids.

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  17. What a wonderful, fact-filled post about a wonderful enterprise in St. Paul. I take it the mosiac lady decorates the exterior of the building. She's certainly enticing in all aspects.

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  18. I think the theater is a wonderful thing for the youth of the city. Great capture of the intricate sculpture.

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  19. I love community projects like this! Sounds like the Chicken Shed Theatre company in London.

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  20. Wow! I thought for a moment we were back in Mazatlan! I like this very much.

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  21. Wonderful photo and news of this theater's new home. Theater is an important heritage here in the Twin Cities.

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  22. wow, that looks great.

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  23. Anonymous4:13 PM

    I work at Ecolab downtown and this past summer I was lucky enough to see this wonderful piece of art come together piece by piece. There was a tent set up where young people would come and work on this - for several months, I think. And yes, I also admire the patience it took to create "her". Quite impressive!

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  24. Ross Willits11:35 AM

    I am the Managing Director of SteppingStone Theatre in St. Paul, where our lovely "Belle of Victoria" resides.

    A bit more information for you: The sculpture was created as part of COMPAS's ArtsWork program in the summer of '07. In this program, professional artists work with youth to create works of art. In this case, the artist was Sharra Frank, and she chose to donate the work to the theatre. Upon completion of the work, it was installed at the new SteppingStone Theatre at 55 Victoria Street, Saint Paul.

    The figure depicts a dancing girl (taken somewhat from our logo). At her feet are mosaic flowers, a butterfly and a turtle.

    Our new building is actually a 100 year old former church that had sat empty for a number of years prior to SteppingStone's purchase and renovation. We opened our new home in December '07, and are thrilled with the response and support we've received in our new neighborhood.

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