Hill: Ray Horne an inspiration to the arts community

January 17, 2014 

Last week, a giant in the world of arts education took his final curtain call. For decades Ray Horne helped students discover their unique gifts and talents and their purpose in this world all under the guise of musical theater productions at Northside High School in Warner Robins.

The value of hard work, commitment and teamwork was disguised as rehearsals. The joy of collaboration and inspiring others was a by-product of some of the best theater ever created in Middle Georgia, performances that garnered regional and national awards.

I grew up in Macon but I knew who Horne was. His theater program was legendary throughout the state. His unfailing commitment to excellence set the bar high for us all. This man has probably touched your life, too. Former students are now doctors, lawyers, teachers, ministers, bankers and other community leaders.

The most successful communities and school systems in the world know that arts education isn’t about producing professional artists. Though Carrie Preston, Steve Penley, Tina McElroy Ansa, Robert McDuffie and Horne’s successor at Northside, former student Brian Barnett, all credit arts educators with shaping their careers. Arts education is about creating successful human beings whose creativity allows them to positively impact the world.

In two weeks, members of the Macon Civic Club will do just that. Professionals by day, these men and women are busy investing time, energy and sweat rehearsing their annual musical revue, “Soulshine,” which runs Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at the Grand Opera House.

During the years, this production has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from ticket sales that is then reinvested to support the work of an array of non-profits in our community, including many arts organizations: a true win-win.

For more immediate entertainment gratification, try your hand at painting with the 567 Center for Renewal’s Corks & Canvas session tonight.

Feed your eyes with (free) exhibits of work by fine artists Craig Coleman, Monica Stevens and Frances de la Rosa at various midstate art galleries; or check out the new exhibit of “Quilts, Textiles and Fiber Arts,” which opened this week at the Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Opportunities abound to be creatively engaged by the arts in our midst. Get out and give it a try!

Contact J. Cindy Hill at jcindyhill@gmail.com.

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