An investment in creativity

Published 9:50 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

President Obama’s historic stimulus plan has had its intended effect of saving or creating jobs in at least one Suffolk case. Although it represents an infinitesimal portion of the nearly $1 trillion pumped into the nation’s economy by the federal government, a $10,300 grant to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will help fund the salary of a new director of education there.

Jody Mazur started in that job this week — thanks, in part to a grant that came from the federal government through the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The grants were created specifically to preserve jobs not related to fundraising in arts organizations.

Mazur’s new job fits well with the SCCA’s mission of education as articulated by its director, Paul Lasakow. “Education is absolutely central to what we’re doing over here,” he said this week. “It’s not just our middle name; it’s our first, middle and last names.”

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The arts center has been busy this summer living up to that name, with a bevy of educational opportunities related to the visual and performing arts. Want to learn how to make pottery or take better photos? The facility has offered classes on both topics. Interested in learning to play the mandolin or tickle the ivories? Private instruction is offered on both instruments, as well as others.

Both the SCCA and the Suffolk Art League provide a plethora of classes designed to introduce area residents to the world of fine arts and crafts, to move them out of their comfort zones and into areas where their creativity can soar.

If the federal government’s $10,300 contribution to that effort keeps the doors open to those classes, that is, at least, one positive result of the controversial stimulus program.