This Thanksgiving, one of the blessings I’m grateful for is our community’s embracing of the arts. Though Norfolk may not be a large town, it does boast an arts presence that rivals Nebraska’s larger cities. Norfolk has a community art center, community theatre and a sculpture walk. Live music and cultural festivals abound. Norfolk serves as a creative hub for area artists, writers and photographers and provides ample opportunity to shine a light on those talents. You can’t turn a corner downtown without seeing a building mural or bumping into a sculpture.

The arts are important to our understanding and enjoyment of the world, and they provide an economic boost to our local economy. The benefits of the arts is a drum I have beaten before (speaking of — First Fridays at the Norfolk Arts Center is a fantastic opportunity to play those drums), but I’d like to acknowledge the impact they’ve had right here in Norfolk, and how fortunate we are in comparison to other towns.

For instance, thanks to the Norfolk Arts Center and the Nebraska Arts Council, thousands of area grade school children experienced live professional theatre over the years, and teens and young adults have a space to experience art and music. It’s not just the Norfolk Arts Center. Other area organizations have played a part, such as the Elkhorn Valley Museum and the Norfolk Public Library. The sculpture walk and our downtown murals were spearheaded by our visitors’ bureau.

One of the benefits of living in a smaller community is our opportunity to be more hands-on with the arts. Art is for everyone, and in Norfolk, everyone can experience the arts. In larger cities, those opportunities are diminished, often lessened by social and economic parameters.

Here in Norfolk, free art galleries and community festivals with live music are plentiful. Emerging and experienced artists can create or play live for their peers at First Fridays. Many of these opportunities are brought to us by nonprofit organizations that rely on donations and grants to serve our community.

This year, when you are celebrating, please remember what a blessing the arts are in Norfolk. If you can, pass your gratefulness along to these organizations by donating your time or money to help them continue to bless our community.

November is drawing to a close, but December promises new art opportunities. At the Norfolk Arts Center, the main gallery and atrium gallery will feature new exhibits by Anastacia Drake and Sally Jurgensmier. First Friday is December 7. Admission to the NAC is free and open to the public.

In other performances, the Norfolk Community Theatre debuts its new musical, the popular “Anything Goes,” on Thursday, Dec. 2. Auditions for its next show, “Moon Over Buffalo,” take place on Monday and Tuesday Dec. 6-7.

For more information about auditioning or to purchase tickets, please visit the NCT website at https://nctheatre.org.

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In other news

A strong day by Isabel Hass and a late surge by Guardian Angels Central Catholic resulted in a dominant win for the Bluejays, as they defeated Lutheran High Northeast 75-31 on Saturday night in the Andrews Activities Center.

HOWELLS — A basketball game broke out in the second half of a game between a couple of football powers here Thursday night with Howells-Dodge eventually outmuscling Pierce 54-42 in both teams' first game on the hardwood this season.

Without even trying, we have a vintage Christmas this year. It’s the trend right now to use old decorations and recycled displays, so I went to a store specializing in vintage items to find some different Christmas décor to put around the house.

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