Summer around town.

My love of the fine arts started when I was five years old. My mother took me to see a community theatre production of Annie. I was in awe of the singing and dancing that took place on that stage. Just a year later the movie Annie came out in theaters, and I was hooked on the music. No record in my collection was played more than my Annie album–often with my sister and friends joining me in singing every word to every song. At that time, I set a goal: to act out my favorite movie, Annie, on the stage. At age 10, that dream came true when I was cast in our community theatre production of Annie. The months spent with the cast, rehearsing and performing, were some of my favorite childhood memories.

The fine arts give us an opportunity to express our creativity and convey emotion, often without words. A dance can bring a spectator to tears. An uplifting song can pull someone out of sadness. A painting or photograph can take viewers to another world. The ways we can express and enjoy art are endless.

This month, West Chester & Liberty Lifestyle goes behind the scenes with a variety of local artists. You’ll meet an inspiring young man who uses dance to overcome obstacles in his life. You’ll get to know a Lakota graduate who has been living out her Broadway dream on stages across America.

We’ll introduce you to POP Revolution, a local art gallery and framing store with two area locations and a variety of unique artwork. This month’s Giving Back story showcases the InsideOut Studio, an organization of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities that provides a creative outlet for artists.

This month we also transition a very important role on our team, our Editor. I want to personally express my gratitude and appreciation for Tera Michelson’s services as our Editor these past ten months. Her careful eye and uplifting voice were woven throughout our pages. While her schedule will no longer allow her the time needed to serve as Editor, you’ll continue to see her stories each month as a contributing writer.

It is with great excitement that we welcome Abbey McMahon as our new Editor. Abbey is a local talent who has been part of our team for many months. You can learn more about Abbey on page 14.

So turn on your favorite album and find an inspiring place to relax and enjoy this arts-packed edition of West Chester & Liberty Lifestyle.