- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

LOGAN, W.Va. (AP) - A community theater group in Logan is using the arts to revitalize the city’s downtown economy.

The Southern Coalition for the ARTS has launched a campaign called “A Christmas Carol - Shop Local.” The group is offering two free tickets for its production of “A Christmas Carol” to anyone who spends $100 at a participating business between Black Friday and the play’s opening night on Dec. 12.

“”It’s really taken off. A lot of people are contacting us to become part of it,” Jamie Butcher, a member of the group, told WSAZ-TV (https://bit.ly/1x3kTrp).

Earlier this fall, the group performed “Shrek The Musical” and returned $16,000 of the $25,000 profit to the community.

“We went local with anything we could possibly go local with,” Butcher said.

Logan and other southern coalfields communities have been hit by the recent layoffs of hundreds of workers in the mining industry.

“It’s really getting scary,” Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti told WSAZ.

Nolletti said he hopes the theater group’s campaign will bring people into downtown, and that those people will spend money.

The Logan UPS store is one of the businesses participating in the campaign. The store provided tickets, programs, posters and other materials for “Shrek The Musical.”

“It’s a way to get people in the doors; show them what we can do,” John Sword, the store’s owner, told WSAZ.

“We didn’t have a lot going on downtown. When Shrek came, it was like it breathed life into the local economy there,” he said. In addition to giving local businesses a boost, Butcher said the theater group wants to fill another need.

“We are not only economically suffering, we’re really culturally deprived in this area,” she said.

The Southern Coalition for the ARTS recently won an award from Create West Virginia for its ideas to boost the economy.

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Online:

The Southern Coalition for the ARTS: southerncoalitionarts.com

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Information from: WSAZ-TV, https://www.wsaz.com


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