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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Insomniaks Give Nazareth Arts Center; NDA Gives Nazareth a Headache

Last week, I told you that avant-garde Insomniak Theatre Company has finally found a home in Nazareth at the old Nazareth News Agency on Main Street. The Express Times has since confirmed that this thespian troupe signed a one year lease, effective September 1.

Late last night, I sat down with the Triumvirate behind the Insomniak - Nazareth resident and teacher Erik Honsel, Bushkill Township businessman Jim Buskirk and Upper Nazareth student Matt Meckes. Insomiaks all, they were guzzling coffee. I had a cup myself.

I asked why they do this. None of them makes a dime from it. These gentlemen, and they are gentlemen, believe the arts make us better people. Honsel is a teacher, Meckes a music student and Buskirk provides the business acumen. It's a nice combination.

They plan more than shows. "It's a fully functioning arts center," said Matt Meckes. Buskirk explained there will be dance lessons, art shows in the Spring, acting lessons in the Summer. In October, there will be pumpkin carvings and Halloween stories. In December, kids in their PJs will ride on the Polar Express. They'll even be served hot chocolate.

The last Friday of every month will be a night of jazz. I'll be there in a beret.

Of course, there will also be shows.

The Insomniaks are up and running with no taxpayer dollars, either. Not even a dime.

In the meantime, the newly formed "Nazareth Cultural and Arts Commission," has a rent-free lease to the borough's old municipal building. Its one accomplishment? A logo. And earlier this month, the Nazareth Downtown Association (NDA) proposed that the borough spend $30,000 to hire Taggart Associates as a grant writer. Taggart claimed it could get an "anchor building grant" to convert that mold-filled property into an arts center.

Funny thing. Borough Secretary Paul Kokolus knows a little about grant-writing himself. No building with under 10,000 square feet is entitled to a grant. Borough Council sent Taggart away.

It seems that the Insomniaks are doing fine on their own while the Arts Commission is napping and the NDA clamors for public assistance.


petelewnes said...

I LOVE insominak...they do really quality productions. The Arts Commission here tried to find them a spot in Allentown - I hope and am sure they will do great and thanks for writing on this.

Bernie O'Hare said...


So I'll look for you to sneak out of A-town to visit the Insomniaks.

One thing I forget to mention is Socrates' cafe. They'll be doing that from time to time, too. Street philosophy. What we used to call bull sessions.

petelewnes said...

i will...i wonder if i still remember how to leave allentown? Actually...my mom in jersey requires regular visits or i get the guilt trip of trips. Insomniak does such great productions and really gets it in terms of their classes etc. I also hear that brazilian steak place is great...I miss all of them in newark, nj and will have to try.