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Local Voices: Lansing voices were silenced in Munster

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Submitted by Pat Kremer

I was planning to read these remarks at the Munster School Board Meeting on Monday, April 8. I arrived one hour before the meeting began and was the second person on the list of public commentators. However, due to the board’s decision to silence Lansing residents, I did not get the opportunity to speak. These remarks were never spoken from the podium during the Public Forum part of the monthly meeting and therefore never entered into the public record of the meeting. I am sharing them with The Lansing Journal as a way to ensure they are documented.

March 8, 2024, is a date many of us will always remember. It was one month ago today that everyone at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) found out at the same time that Munster School Board planned to purchase the CVPA and convert it into offices for the new superintendent. We responded with shock followed by a decision to organize Save the CVPA, a group that would find a way to find a buyer who understood how important it is to have culture, music, drama, and art as part of our lives as these are the elements that make us human.

Members of Save the CVPA are reaching out to the businesses in Northwest Indiana who will be devastated by the loss of the Center — for example, hotels who depend on the relatives who fly in for their granddaughter’s wedding, graduation, or a family reunion or birthday. These are the events that take place at the CVPA. I am visualizing the brides who have their receptions months or years ago at the CVPA, and now have a cell phone in one hand and a box of Kleenex in the other, waiting for word from a wedding planner who has not heard a response about whether her wedding or reception will be cancelled.

Here’s what you should know about the four thriving businesses that are under the umbrella of the CVPA:

1. Theatre at the Center routinely sells out its tickets to shows like Tribute Bands for Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Buffet. If you don’t call when the shows are first announced, you won’t get a ticket.

2. Trama Catering works with the Theatre to create a dinner/theater experience.

3. The Northwest Indiana Symphony works with Trama Catering and Theatre at the Center to create experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Next week the three are working together to offer a pre-concert dinner followed by a Flute Ensemble on the Theatre at the Center stage.

4. South Shore Arts provides unique opportunities for art as well as education.

In fact, all four businesses – Trama Catering, Theater at the Center, South Shore Arts, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony — work together and depend on each other. These businesses are not failing. They are thriving. They sell out. And the region’s entire population depends on the Center as a source of entertainment that is accessible for all.

Meghan Hoyt was nine years old when she starred in Theatre at the Center’s “Miracle on 34th Street.” She went on to be an award-winning and in-demand teen actress in the Chicago theater market. In the 1990s, another aspiring actress got her start at Theatre at the Center. Her name is Jessie Mueller. Jessie opened on Broadway in 2014 as the star of “Beautiful: the Carole King Story.” She then went on to star in another Broadway show in 2016 called “Waitress.” Another Broadway show followed called “The Minutes,” and that was followed by a Broadway musical, a remake of the classic musical “Carousel.” And it all began at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts’ Theatre at the Center.

We’re asking you (School Town of Munster) to give us more time. Four weeks is not enough to explore ways to find a buyer who wants to keep the CVPA as the region’s cultural arts center. Our region’s loss of The CVPA would tear our hearts out and change Munster forever, so we are working 24/7 to do everything we can to stop the sale and find someone who believes that this community deserves to keep this treasure and stop a land grab that would take away the cultural soul from not only the residents of Munster but all of the surrounding towns.

Pat Kremer
Lansing resident

Local Voices
Local Voiceshttps://thelansingjournal.com/category/lansing-voices/
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.

10 COMMENTS

  1. It will be a heartbreaking loss to our community if the center is closed. I hope and pray your efforts will not be in vain. The loss of the center will be devastating for this area.

  2. Save the Center for Performing Arts. I have been to many functions there. It is a jewel in the area.

  3. I agree with Pat, I am a former Lansing resident who moved to Munster. My family and friends have enjoyed many shows and events at the performing arts. I was a season subscriber and really missed it. I would hate to see the place taken over by the school or any government. I think it’s very wrong to snub Lansing residence as we are their neighbors and always enjoyed what they offered.

  4. It does seem strange. You need facts and figures before you fight those in power. If it were me, I would use the Freedom of Information Act. You want to know when and how the decision was made to turn the Center into another office complex. Submit FOIA requests to the Town Council and the School Board to get minutes from all public meetings pertaining to the. Proposal. Once you have that information we can go from there. They do not want you to use this strategy. The people should dictate the rules of the game. Do not fall into their trap.

  5. Not one time is the community healthcare system mentioned. They are the owners of the building and are able to sell the building to whoever they want to.

  6. People are missing the very real possibility that the site could be sold to any commercial venture that could tear it down and build whatever they want. It could be your newest Walgreens, Dollar General, Popeyes, or all of the above.

    The school or town ownership may be the best option for the community. If certain art forums are list, maybe it is time for Lansing to step up and welcome them across the border. Are there any open buildings in Lansing?

  7. Make Sure that all these Elected officials are unseated next time around , MAKE SURE ALL LEADERS involved in this decision are NOT ELECTED AGAIN , They need to GO , The people can make changes too , Especially when these so called Leaders are suppose to represent the PEOPLE of Munster not themselves for their own Greed . STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK , GET RID OF THESES ARROGANT SELFISH BUMS , PUT THEM IN THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE that’s where they belong . Only by showing them that the PEOPLE are the ones with the REAL POWER , will they ever learn .The people are the ones who pay for everything NOT THEM , then and only then will they ever learn . MAKE SURE ALL NAMES OF DECISION MAKING BUMS ARE TAKIN DOWN FOR THE NEXT MEETING . IF ANYONE HASN’T DONE SO ALREADY ,. START and Launch a Full Investigation on Each Town Council and the School Board members , as Robert R. Malkas also said here request the Freedom of information Act and find Out EXACTLY WHO MADE THESE DECISIONS , REMEMBER EVERYTHING is done with the Peoples Money not there own money. LETS GET RID OF THEM , NOT THE ARTS CENTER . AND MAKE SURE THESE LEADERS are NEVER allowed to be Leaders NO WHERE.

  8. ALSO THANK YOU SO MUCH TO THE LANSING JOURNAL THAT ALLOWED PEOPLE HERE TO HAVE REAL FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND BE HEARD , NOT LIKE THE MUNSTER CITY COUNSEL , THAT IS SO CORRUPT FOR SUPPRESSING PEOPLES FREEDOM OF SPEECH , BUT MUNSTER WILL SURE TAKE YOUR MONEY IF YOU GO OVER THERE , BUT YOU CANT SAY ANYTHING OR BE HEARD .

    THANK YOU AGAIN , LANSING JOURNAL

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