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Published April 25 2012

Forum editorial: Bluestem original vision vital

As solutions are hammered out regarding the debt of the Bluestem Center for the Arts (home of the Trollwood Performing Arts School), the overall vision for the center in south Moorhead must not be forgotten. Successful fundraising and a major grant from a Minnesota arts fund were predicated on a vision for the center that is larger and more inclusive than the iconic Trollwood program. While the Fargo public school’s summer performance/ education program is the central and primary attraction for the center, Trollwood is not all that is envisioned for Bluestem.

Memories are sometimes short. During the initial fundraising for a new Trollwood home along the Red River south of Moorhead, ambitious plans, complete with impressive sketches and diagrams, were presented to potential contributors, and many responded positively. Detailed sessions with local media revealed an expansive footprint that featured not only a spectacular main performance stage, but also classrooms, meeting rooms, food services potential and more – all designed to create a year-round complex that could accommodate far more than a summer musical performance.

The vision is sound, even if the transitional management of the overall program has been less than sound.

The currents in the roiled Bluestem stream include lingering resentment about moving Trollwood from its historic north Fargo location; personality conflicts among Bluestem and Trollwood managers and staff; turf protection regarding summer use of the main stage for music concerts and stage shows other than the Trollwood production; reluctance of some Fargo School Board members to embrace the larger vision; and Moorhead’s wrong-headed refusal to help in any significant way an extraordinary venue that has the potential to be one of the city’s most attractive amenities.

The thinking and planning that go into solving the Bluestem/

Trollwood financial problem must be as expansive and creative as the original vision. Anything less will likely fail.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

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