By Hannah E. Jones

Joy, brightness and community — that is the foundation of the Rialto Center for the Arts 2023/24 season. The new series, “Holding the Light,” will bring artists to the downtown stage, ranging from dance to opera to Afro-Cuban rhythms. 

The Queen’s Cartoonists. (Photo by Mark Sheldon.)

The season showcases a wide variety of live music — like The Queen’s Cartoonists, a New York ensemble that recreates soundtracks from popular animations, and Take 6, regarded as the most awarded acapella group. Parsons Dance, an international touring modern dance company, will also take the stage.

The 12-show line-up packs a punch, with performers having earned a total of 15 Grammy Awards from a combined 39 nominations. The upcoming series will run from Oct. 14 to April 19. 

Per tradition, the students and faculty at the Georgia State School of Music will perform holiday favorites at the annual Holiday Gala, now in its 26th year. 

Take 6. (Photo courtesy of the Rialto Center for the Arts.)

The 2023/24 schedule includes:

Lee Foster. (Photo courtesy of the Rialto Center for the Arts.)

When describing the inspiration for this year’s theme, Executive Director Lee Foster spoke about her recent visit with her family, who she hadn’t seen all together since before the pandemic. There, she felt a strong sense of “joy, laughter and togetherness.” That got her thinking about finding joy in all spaces, even through life’s highs and lows.

“This over-brimming feeling of joy was really palpable for me during that period,” Foster said. “I thought, ‘How do I find joy each day, as we deal with some of the difficulties that we’ve been through? How can we help each other to find that joy or balance? How can the Rialto help?’” 

Foster also emphasized the important role that art can play in our lives by offering solace, creating community and allowing room for self-expression.

“Every day I see people struggling with the pressure of life. Students are sometimes crippled with their responsibility to their classes and lives. Whatever their status, I believe that we’re all born with light — all of us,” Foster said. “The Rialto engages the joy and spirit that helps all of us face those challenges; The arts and the Rialto can help us balance those responsibilities and pressures with joy and light. I hope, in our very small and unique way, the Rialto can serve as the lighthouse to help everyone renew their spirit and keep growing strong.”

This will also be the first season since the downtown venue installed its new digital film projector and cinema screen this past spring. The purchase was the result of a nearly-completed, five-year fundraising effort to raise $350,000 for the new equipment, but the team still seeks an additional $37,000 to upgrade the sound system. Advisory Board Vice Chair Jo Ann Haden-Miller and her partner Gregory have pledged to donate $10,000 if the remaining amount is raised.

If you’re interested in attending a show, subscriptions are on sale now, and single tickets will become available on Aug. 17.

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

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