If you attended one of the performances of Crane River Theater’s “Newsies,” you witnessed some of the best theater that local critics have seen in Kearney. Crisp dancing, great singing, an amazing set and outstanding performances elevate “Newsies” to a high plateau.

We in Kearney are fortunate that Crane River and other arts and cultural organizations so capably enrich our community. We know the arts are emotionally and spiritually uplifting, but did you know the arts are good for the overall vigor of rural communities?

According to the National Governors’ Association, rural communities that support the arts experienced population growth three times faster, and higher household incomes — up to $6,000 higher — compared to rural communities that lack performing arts.

Supporting theater, dance and music makes a statement about the value we place on creativity, imagination and open-mindedness. And, if the governors organization is correct, the byproduct of embracing and supporting the arts is a progressive, vibrant community.