Over the last few months, we have been thinking about ways to reach out and build new connections with you. Ways we can welcome you behind the Norton Center curtain, introduce you to our staff and invite you to take a closer look at the context surrounding our performances and programs.
With this in mind, we are excited to launch our new blog: GREAT STORIES! It’s a place to share stories that inspire us. Stories that help shape our perspectives. And stories that connect us all through a shared humanity.
Why? I truly believe that stories of the human condition help us better understand ourselves and the world in which we live. These shared stories demonstrate that we are all more similar than we are different. They help us to feel empathy for our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of our planet.
While I have always thought that it was important for arts organizations to provide relatable context about the programs and artists they feature, I first began intentionally embracing the concept of shared stories when I served as the CEO of the National Steinbeck Center.
John Steinbeck is one of the greatest American authors to capture the essence of humanity in his works. His writings are often considered simplistic in form. However, they deeply and poignantly reflect everyday people in our lives — who reflect each of us — making everyday observations.
All art is a reflection of our society. They are our shared stories and they are told in so many ways. Musicals like RENT and Come From Away depict human responses to very real situations. We have presented dance performances, such as Jessica Lang Dance, that made statements about war and conflict; while the Che Malambo performance featured Argentinian dance and percussion created centuries ago. Alison Krauss tells remarkable traditional stories through her incredible artistry, talent and tone.
Many of our patrons consider themselves life-long learners and explorers. Part of this learning process is to seek personal and relevant connections, or to simply ask, “Why?” In GREAT STORIES, we hope that you will find a greater understanding of who we are and a deeper connection to the artists and programs we present.
Now, more than ever, we need to be mindful and come together. Our thoughts are with all of you during these challenging times, and we hope that these GREAT STORIES will make you think and help you connect.
Steve Hoffman has curated, produced and presented cross-genre multi-disciplinary programs, events and seasons for nearly 30 years. Since 2010, he has served as Executive Director of Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts, in Danville, Kentucky, where he is responsible for its oversight, management and programming. Previously, Steve served as President and CEO of the National Steinbeck Center, in Monterey County, California – an international cultural institution and museum with a mission focused on the life, works and philosophies of John Steinbeck. Before that, he spent eleven years as the founding CEO of the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Steve is on the faculty of the University of Kentucky Department of Arts Administration graduate program and has taught courses at the University of Michigan and Centre College. Since living in Kentucky, Steve has served on boards and committees for The Gladys Project, the Heart of Danville, Leadership Boyle County, The Danville Community Arts Center, Heart of Kentucky United Way, Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College (Maryville, TN), and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals.