Marathon Center for the Performing Arts Education Director
Impact: Programs for over 11,000 students
As a student at Cory-Rawson, Craig VanRenterghem never missed a chance to showcase his music skills. Rehearsals for choirs, musicals, band and an area-wide singing group filled his calendar. Today, his passion for music and theatre infuses his daily work. As the education director at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA), he provides numerous opportunities for Findlay area youth to explore their artistic side.
Teacher at heart
After graduating from Bluffton University in 2005, Craig spent ten years with Findlay City Schools teaching choir and music. He credits his music teachers at Cory-Rawson and Bluffton for shaping his classroom style. “They cared about their students. You could tell by the way they taught and directed that they wanted us to succeed,” he says.
Expanding his reach
In his role at MCPA, Craig still teaches and influences young people, only now he has a much greater reach. Every year, the arts programming he coordinates reaches over 11,000 students and teachers. His responsibilities include Youtheatre, SPARK (School Day Performance) Series; Arts in the Schools; Adult Education Programming; Poetry Out Loud; and the Family Series of concerts/programs at the Marathon Center. He still puts his teacher hat on to help run rehearsals and to lead workshops. “Once a teacher, always a teacher,” he says. “You never really stop teaching the subject you are passionate about.”
Craig has been excited to see personal growth when young people engage in arts opportunities. “I have seen many students come out of their shell and really begin to find their place on the stage,” he says. Their confidence-building moments have only been enhanced through the merger of MCPA and The Arts Partnership of Findlay, which took place just over a year ago. “The merger has provided us with the capacity and the space to continue growing our arts education programming and it also offers our students the opportunity to learn and perform in a state-of-the-art building.”
Spotlight on the future
Findlay is a great place to live for young thespians or musicians, Craig advises. Looking toward the future, he believes creative enthusiasm will continue to grow in the area. “We are always working on new and exciting ways to inspire and enrich the lives of the youth, regardless of income or ability. We also strive to promote appreciation of the arts for all ages,” he said.