Performing Arts Mix With Galleries for Cultural Mecca

By Anne Gillem on April 27, 2012 at 2:10 am EST


Take a little music, add in some theater and top it all off with a vibrant arts scene and you’ve got the ingredients for a capital city full of cultural opportunities.

The Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra can trace its history back to the 1920s, when musicians joined forces to play at church functions. Their debut was Easter Sunday 1923 at First Baptist Church. Except for a break during World War II, the symphony has been an important part of the city life ever since. To encourage up-and-coming musicians, the symphony, made up of two-thirds adults and one-third students, presents awards annually to deserving young musicians. The symphony has its concerts at Richardson Auditorium at Lincoln University.

The Miller Performing Arts Center, opened in 1926, has had many roles in its storied history. Now owned by Jefferson City Public Schools, the center hosts theater productions and is home to the Railton Art Gallery, as well as the Jefferson City Academic Center and the JCPS Adult Education Program.

Creativity reigns at The Little Theatre of Jefferson City, which got its start some 40 years ago with a production of Little Mary Sunshine put on by the St. Mary Hospital Auxiliary as a fundraiser for the hospital. As community theater grew, it acquired a permanent home at 1005 Chestnut St. Performances are held at the Miller Performing Arts Center, and 2008-09 productions include Beauty and the Beast, First Baptist of Ivy Gap, To Kill a Mockingbird, Don’t Dress for Dinner and City of Angels.

Just a walk around the state Capitol vicinity can be a feast for the eyes. The Fountain of the Arts, the Fountain of the Centaurs and the Fountain of the Sciences depict various disciplines and area history.

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