DISCOVER DOWNTOWN like never before!
Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the GREAT businesses located here in downtown. Get to know the owners and their products from checking out their answers to a series of fun questions!
What is the name of your business and who is the owner(s)?
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
President, Maria Van Laanen
What service(s) and/or product(s) do you offer?
As a local nonprofit arts and cultural education organization, the mission of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is to serve as a gathering place for the community to engage in education opportunities and enhance understanding and enjoyment of life through the creation and presentation of the arts. We do this with our Broadway Across America – Fox Cities, Arts Alive!, Spotlight and Education Series as well as welcoming top touring artists from around the world.
What inspired you to start your business?
The Fox Cities P.A.C. started as a dream for a local gathering place for the community to engage with each other through the arts as early as the 1970s. In the fall of 1999 Aid Association for Lutherans stepped forward in overwhelming support of the Center, providing an $8 million gift to get the ball rolling. Then the community, its businesses and local leaders stepped forward and helped to make the dream a reality. The Center officially opened in 2002 and has been a gathering place for the community ever since.
What are 3 words that describe your business?
Engaging. Cultural. Inspiring.
If your business had a theme song, what would it be?
We could never pick just one song, however on occasion you can hear staff members hum “Opening Night” from The Producers as we get excited to bring each artist or performance to our stage.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
You always have time for the things you prioritize. We are all so busy, it is easy to say, “I ran out of time.” But the truth is, if it is important to you, you will find the time. I go back to this advice again and again to re-check my priorities.
What's something about your business nobody knows?
How much it truly takes a village to put on a production. When you’re here for a Broadway show there are more than 200 people, many of them local, that work to make your experience exceptional from actors to crew members and musicians, volunteers and staff members. That’s not including the hundreds of others that work all year round to keep our building in exceptional shape and serving our mission in the community.
What do you love most about being in Downtown Appleton?
We love how supportive Downtown Appleton is to our mission and its central location allows people from throughout the Fox Cities to gather here for performances, celebrations and so many other activities. Visiting artists often tell us how much they love the friendly vibe of the community from its unique shops to variety of restaurants, diverse attractions and vibrant energy.
If you were a super hero, what powers would you have?
Time goes so fast now-a-days, I would want the super ability to pause time and really enjoy little moments. Moments with family and friends, moments on stage and just those points where you really say, “I want to savor this,” or “I want to remember this.”
If you had to describe your business as an animal, which one would it be and why?
A butterfly. They are constantly evolving and providing unique beauty. Everyone who sees a butterfly notices something a little different but can appreciate their presence. That’s what art is for people.
If you could bring back any fashion trend, what would it be?
Legwarmers. But that might be because it is cold and we’re getting ready for Rock of Ages; listening to 80s music from the show might be inspiring me there.
Something else fun and unique about your business you want to share?
One of my favorite ways to connect with the community and the world around us is to share in unique arts experiences. The arts help us all forget our cares and worries, challenge us to expand our beliefs and views by seeing life through someone else’s eyes, expand our world-view by engaging us in new cultures and provide memorable moments with friends, family or coworkers.
Learn more about Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and plan your visit, check them out on Facebook! Click here.