The Renaissance Center will celebrate its ninth anniversary Saturday, Aug. 2, with a full day of demonstrations, art exhibits, story telling, music, dance, theatre and spectacular shows in the CyberSphere Digital Theater.

"From Appalachian stories to classic Broadway, from Disney's latest sensation to a wonderful modern dance troupe, this day promises to have something for everyone," said Doug Jackson, executive director of the fine arts education and performing arts center in Dickson. "We're celebrating nine years of promoting the arts through education and entertainment and this day sums up what The Renaissance Center is all about."

Throughout the day, the center's gallery spaces will feature four unique art exhibits. The Visual Arts Gallery will feature works by Nashville artist Victoria Boone, who has been a part of two of the center's annual juried shows, the Renaissance Regional Art Exhibit. Boone's symbol-oriented paintings are a fusion of multiple cultures and different periods of history created through diverse styles to explore the world of symbology.

In the East Wing Gallery will be photographic creations by Erin Anfinson of Murfreesboro. Anfinson is an artist who has found a unique way of capturing a new sensibility from the worlds of painting and photographic imagery.

Nashville-based musician and visual artist Julie Lee will have works on display in the North Wing Gallery. A fan of jazz legends, Lee creates art that mirrors the fusion of music styles that comes under the heading of jazz. Her art is an assemblage of individual pieces into her hand-made structures references dioramas, sculpture and paintings, as well as other art forms.

The North Wing Display Cases will feature functional and playing ceramic pieces from Nashville artist Doug Stevenson, whose newest works have taken on a more organic life. The pieces abandon the formal world of craft for function's sake to explore new visual strategies and head in a new direction.

The Renaissance Center's art galleries are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and admission is free.

The Virtually Unlimited Bookstore will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature a free Storytime 1 to 2 p.m. Children can enjoy live readings of popular stories while mom and dad shop from the latest best-sellers or the other many items available in the bookstore.

The Renaissance Center's art, music, dance and theatre faculty will be on hand 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with various demonstrations and information sessions about classes in the upcoming fall semester at The Renaissance Center. The dance faculty will be in the dance studio during this period to conduct placement assessments for students enrolling in Elementary Division classes for the fall.

In a special Senior Days program, storyteller Patsy Hatfield Lawson returns with her unique style of Appalachian tales and a lunch in the Gaslight Dinner Theatre. Stories will include Leaving Mama, Learning Basketball and Mama and Contests. These stories explore attending school in Tennessee during the 1950s and 1960s. They are a journey back to middle childhood, learning many skills other than school subjects and exploring ethics from a family perspective. Tickets are $20 for seniors 55 and over and include the Story Hour 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a buffet lunch 12 to 1 p.m.

The latest sensation from Disney hits the stage of the Performance Hall at 2 p.m. when the Mind Enriching Theatre series presents High School Musical on Stage. The live production is adapted from the popular Disney Channel movie that has spawned a sequel, a theatre release this fall and a new reality television series.

At East High School, the lines between the various cliques get crossed when basketball team captain Troy decides to audition for the school musical to impress Gabriella, a girl he met during the winter break who has recently enrolled. Meanwhile, science club president Taylor is trying to recruit Gabriella for an upcoming science decathlon. Conflicts arise between basketball and theatre, coach and principal, divas and jocks, brainiacs and skater dudes and other factions within the school. Will the Wildcats win the championship game? Will Gabriella choose the science competition or the play? Will the whole school be able to come together and students set aside their differences?
Tickets for High School Musical on Stage are $10.

The CyberSphere Digital Theater will take you back in time, through the heavens and on a wild ride with shows through the afternoon and evening.

At 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., the CyberSphere presents Seven Wonders, a full-dome video journey back through time to witness the seven wonders of the ancient world. Travel to Egypt to visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Great Pyramids, to Persia to see the original Mausoleum, to Babylon to explore the fabled Hanging Gardens, to Greece to tour the Temples of Zeus and Artemis, and to Rhodes to stand in the shadow of the towering Colossus. In a one-of-a-kind show featuring Digistar 3, the state-of-the-art planetarium projection system that can't be found anywhere else in Tennessee, you will investigate theories about how these wonders were created and get a glimpse of what they looked like in their glory. Also included will be Stargazing, a look at what's up in the summer skies over Middle Tennessee. Locate and hop through the constellations, learn cool star names and groove to planetarium space music in a full-dome experience. Tickets for the Seven Wonders and Stargazing double feature are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors 55 and over and children under 13.

The CyberSphere turns red, white and blue with Americana at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. when it presents the laser show Spirit of America. The four-story dome rocks with patriotism with a variety of music styles and spectacular laser effects. The song list includes Celine Dion's God Bless America, Hoedown by Aaron Copland, Centerfield by former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogarty, a medley from the 1950s, a version of The Star-Spangled Banner by '70s glam-rock kings KISS, World's Greatest by R. Kelly, Standing Outside the Fire by country superstar Garth Brooks, Pink Houses by John Cougar Mellencamp, Only in America by Brooks and Dunn and, of course, God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood, among other songs. Tickets for Spirit of America are $6.

The CyberSphere rocks with some of the best southern rock when it presents Southern Jam at 9 p.m. Spectacular laser effects and the dome's 14,000-watt Dolby digital Surroundsound system will rock with music from Molly Hatchet, ZZTop, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Allman Brothers, Blackfoot, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steve Earle, Charlie Daniels Band Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. Tickets for Southern Jam are $6.

The Renaissance Center's Jazz Combo provides a relaxing concert of jazz classics 4 to 6 p.m. in the Rotunda. Led by Jeff Martin, piano instructor and recording artist, the combo swings through classics from John Coltrane and Benny Goodman to Dave Brubeck and George Benson, among many other artists. Tickets for the Jazz Combo concert are $5.
The Gaslight Dinner Theatre will close its run of one of Broadway's all-time greatest shows that evening. A Chorus Line opened in 1975 and ran for 15 years with its story of the hopes and dreams, highs and lows of life as a Broadway dancer. Tickets for the performance are $30 and include a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Nashville In Motion, a dance company that combines contemporary dance with music by top contemporary music acts, returns to The Renaissance Center as part of its 9th anniversary celebration with a 7 p.m. show in the Performance Hall. Founded in 2007, Nashville In Motion is the vision of Artistic Director Jennifer Niemeyer Harwell, whose credentials range from performing with the Tennessee Repertory Theatre to dancing with the Nashville Ballet, among others. Harwell was looking for an opportunity to use her skills as a choreographer to combine contemporary dance with popular music, from which Nashville in Motion was born. Tickets for the performance are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 55 and over and $8 for children under 13.

From art exhibits to dance, from two great theatrical productions to a jazz concert, from story-telling to planetarium shows you can't experience anywhere else in the state, The Renaissance Center's ninth anniversary celebration is a widespread example of what the center has to offer and promises a full day of exciting entertainment for the entire family.

For more information, call (615) 740-5600 or visit the center's website at www.rcenter.org. To purchase tickets for any of the ninth anniversary celebration events, call (615) 740-5601.

The Renaissance Center is a fine arts education and performing arts center at 855 Highway 46 South in Dickson, just 35 miles of Nashville on Interstate 40 at exit 172.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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