By Richard Schultz, March 2017 Issue.
I will be the first to admit that I am no good at saying that dreaded word when it comes time to depart. Saying “goodbye” is just not my forte. I always hope for a flash of inspiration leading to a memorable quote. Yet, emotions overwhelm me. I find myself trying not to turn into a quivering mass of tears while half-mumbling sincere and hopefully, not incoherent sentiments. It’s definitely not a Kodak moment.
As a writer with Echo Magazine since 2009, it is truly amazing to me how something that started as a sideline became such a vital and pivotal part of my time in Phoenix. The opportunity to cover so many wonderful stories about stellar productions, gifted artists, impactful organizations and memorable events has been a gift that I will cherish for many years to come. These treasured stories affirmed my belief in the arts as an essential component to the quality of life of every community. It is my contention that the arts entertain, educate and enlighten. My work with Echo has been my way to reinforce those core values.
Yet, as we all know, change is a constant in life. This past Christmas Eve’s eve, I was offered an opportunity to impact the arts for an entire community. In what I consider to be a career-defining opportunity, I accepted the position of cultural arts manager for the City of Carlsbad, California. As a child growing up in Chicago on a steady diet of television sitcoms and variety shows set out west, I dreamed of living in California. As they say, watch what you wish you for. Of course, as a child, I assumed it would be sooner rather than later in life, but fate can be funny that way.
During my tenure with Echo, I focused on feature stories rather than reviews. My goal was to support and help further the arts in the Valley. I hope those feature stories elevated the importance of the inspired local work in theater, dance, music and visual arts. It’s my heartfelt belief that the arts needed all the support possible. For me, these stories spoke to the artistic heart and soul of the Valley, a community filled with dedicated and talented artists striving to share their vision with an audience and speak to our times.
This career change also reflects my steadfast belief that there comes a time when some of us, as artists, need to step up and lead the way. My training as a director provides me with a skill set to create new pathways for both emerging artists and eager audiences. It is essential that we pay it forward and strengthen the role of the arts in everyday life.
So, in the midst of a whirlwind move with a blur of packing boxes and making all the necessary arrangements to relocate, I’m confronted with the need to say farewell. A special thanks to KJ, Bill and the entire Echo team, it has been my honor to share this platform with all of you. To the local artists, please stay so committed and so wonderful. To Echo’s readers, thank you for the privilege to serve as a connector between you and the arts.
As I make a hasty exit west, Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie provides me with that memorable quote that I now borrow: “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
Quite simply, please know that I shall never forget.