After a career presenting, producing and managing performing arts across the country, Dr. Michael Blachly landed in Tallahassee as the Director of Opening Nights at Florida State University. His prior experience includes similar Performing Arts production roles at places such as the University of Florida, UCLA, University of Hawaii, Colorado State University, University of Tennessee, and the 1982 World’s Fair. 

Blachly joins the Chamber podcast to share insight on the behind the scenes facts about the many performances Opening Nights brings to the community each year. In its 22nd season, Opening Nights will feature a variety of performing arts spanning across genres such as musical performance, dance, comedy and a variety of other acts.

A focus for Blachly is to make the arts available and enjoyable for all – a principal he uses to find the talent that comes to community for each show. He notes that he finds many of the acts by being a “sponge” and listening to everyone and anyone that he can find suggestions from, including people in the Tallahassee community.

“I view Opening Nights as sort of the front door to Tallahassee and Leon County, the mechanism whereby people can feel a place within Florida state that’s theirs,” he said.

Blachly explains although Tallahassee’s arts culture is stronger than many similarly sized cities across the country, it’s not exempt from the challenges that face the industry everywhere, including capacity or scheduling challenges and funding for performance facilities. The Opening Nights staff use their platform and connection with artists to provide educational opportunities for K-12 schools, colleges and universities etc.

“We want to be more than drive-by arting, we want them(the artists) to invest in our community, the young people here and make it work so that people say ‘I can do that, I can grow into this if I choose to pursue that as a career.’”

The best place to get more information about any of the work or upcoming performances from Opening Nights is to visit Openingnights.fsu.edu

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