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Langlade County News

Award-Winning Designer Offers His Help, Support For Theater Project

November 28, 2011

Why is an award-winning international designer who is based in the New York City area spending so much time in Antigo?

Well, one might say, he has a stake in the people and the place. How much of a stake? More than 130 years ago his great-grandparents moved here from Canada. So, as a third generation born in the Antigo area, Jeremy Doucette, proudly claims his heritage and his devotion to the town he calls home.

His father Ken, and mother Lynne Doucette still live in the area as do his brother, Joshua and sister, Jamee.

While carving out a career on the East Coast for more than 14 years Doucette would visit Antigo during the holidays to spend time with the family and partake in local festivities and, of course, Packer games.

Now his visits are about connecting with family and building an artistic home for the community at large.

As Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Doucette, like Michelangelo, sees the immense possibilities in the project that, to date, he is most passionate about: Langlade Area Arts (L.A. Arts), which is slated to be housed in Antigo’s historic Home Theater.

Nearing the midway point of a five-year development plan he works steadily on staying true to the mission of L.A. Arts. The goal: To promote and celebrate local artists and to create a place where local community members will enjoy, learn, and discover. L.A. Arts will be a workplace of inclusion and respect, with a focus on the development of creativity and ideas that celebrate the community.

Since receiving a master of fine arts in design from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Doucette has made his home in the New York area. His design work has been seen there, across the country, and as far away as Beijing, China. But, for Doucette, there is no place like home.

That’s why he, along with Mary Ann Kamps, The L.A. Arts Steering Committee and a whole host of other local arts organizations and businesses are gathering together to do nothing less than bring an already strong community even closer together by creating one solid roof over a local historical gem of a building.

Doucette is on a quest to empower local artists to do their best work, see their angel, and set him free. A feeling that Doucette still carries with him as he fondly remembers the people (and the place) who taught him the power of art, creative thinking and the importance of live theatre for any community worthwhile.

He will be home for the L.A. Arts Snow Ball program Dec. 9 to visit with friends and explain plans to bring the Home Theater, which has been dark for artistic purposes for just over five decades, back to life.

The Snow Ball will be held at the Edison Club from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Edison Club . Music will be by Rebecca R and The Northernaires and hors d’oeuvrers and desserts will be prepared by chef Heather Jones. There will be dancing and a cash bar.

Tickets are available at The Blue Awning, Antigo Daily Journal and Neve’s Floors to Go and Furniture or at the door.

Terry Berliner is a New York-based freelance writer and director who specializes in developing and directing new plays and musicals. Ms. Berliner writes for American Theatre and Theatre Bay Area magazines. She is a member of the Lucille Lortel Voting Committee and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

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