LongviewWOW also commissioned a “much dreamed of and talked about mural” on its back wall. The mural, which was painted by Jamie Robinson, features silhouettes of playing children, gears, a crane and other items as well as the LongviewWOW logo. The museum officially celebrated its fifth birthday in August 2021 and unveiled an attractive, interactive front window exhibit that now makes for a new selfie location in downtown Longview.
Summer and fall culinary workshops were well-attended, Swindell said, and in the fall, the children’s museum resumed its Little Learners program for preschool students and began a new Tinkering Club. The Gingerbread Man, who had an abbreviated reading schedule in 2020, planned to make his rounds again in winter of 2021.
Longview Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary in its 2021-2022 season. The ballet, which was founded by Pat George Mitchell, partnered with the Gregg County Historical Museum in the summer of 2021 for a special exhibit paying tribute to the organization’s history. The exhibit, Beauty and Glamour: Signature Costumes of Longview Ballet Theatre, took a look back on 50 years of Longview Ballet Theatre history through photographs, newspaper clippings and costumes that tell the story of the ballet company and its founder.
Longview Ballet Theatre is now preparing to perform Cinderella in the spring of 2022. The performance originally was scheduled for spring of 2020, but it was delayed due to the pandemic. Now, the performance of Cinderella will coincide with the ballet’s 50th anniversary. Longview Ballet Theatre officially started in 1972. In addition to the performance of Cinderella in the spring, Longview Ballet Theatre is also planning its fifth collaboration with Ballet West as well as a special selection of choreography created by Mitchell in tribute to her dancers and her historic career.
Other Longview arts organizations marked 2021 by celebrating the return of in-person performances. The East Texas Symphonic Band held a concert Oct. 12, 2020, that marked its first in-person performance since the beginning of the pandemic. The East Texas Symphonic Band continued to celebrate with in-person audiences throughout 2021, and its annual outside concert on May 24 at Teague Park drew the largest audience in its history at the outdoor venue.
Gregg County Historical Museum brought its annual Dalton Days event back to downtown Longview where crowds gathered to watch a historic re-enactment of the Dalton Gang bank robbery. Dalton Days was one of the first events allowed to take place in the city in the spring as the pandemic eased.
The Belcher Center, which delayed its season in 2020-2021 due to the pandemic, began celebrating a “take two” of its 15th anniversary season last year. The Belcher Center announced in May that its 2021-2022 season will be able to serve an auditorium at full capacity. The Belcher Center plans to bring East Texas audiences a variety of performances during its 15th season. Shows include The 40th Anniversary Official Blues Brothers Revue, A Christmas Carol, The Music of Sam Cooke, One Night in Memphis, and Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience.
ArtsView Children’s Theatre delighted audiences of the young and the young at heart with performances of popular shows, such as Frozen Jr. and Mulan Jr., in the summer of 2021. Executive Director Nathaniel Olson said ArtsView was excited to host a Halloween Revue in October that featured a Halloween centric musical revue performed by teens. In November, ArtsView presented the popular Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and in December, ArtsView partnered with the city of Longview for a holiday celebration called Wonderland Train. ArtsView’s year culminated on December 31 when the organization hosted its annual First Night Gala, a New Year’s Eve fundraiser celebration that benefits the children’s theater.
In 2021, Longview Symphony brought a bit of magic to the city as it partnered with several community organizations for events that led up to the symphony’s The Magic of Harry Potter concert in August. The symphony held a Harry Potter-themed night at its office during the summer ArtWalk, partnered with Oil Horse Brewing Co. in July for Harry Potter trivia, and worked with Longview Arboretum and Nature Center to host a Marauder’s Map Challenge scavenger hunt. Activities culminated with the symphony’s The Magic of Harry Potter, which delighted audiences with music from the beloved films. In December 2021, the symphony also had its annual holiday concert, Home for the Holidays, which featured performances of holiday classics and a special visitor from the North Pole.