This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Harvey W. Owen, director of The Ware Center at Millersville University Lancaster.

Owen during a recent exhibit this past summer.

Q: What exactly does your role entail as director?

A: Managing the visual and performing arts center portion of the building; working with the Deans to place classes and student/faculty performances and events here; operating and promoting the building, its rental spaces and its performances and events to the public; and serving as the “face” of The Ware Center at Millersville University Lancaster.

Q: When did Millersville University open the Lancaster location?

A: In July of 2010.

Q: What is its purpose?

A: To house graduate program classes; undergraduate classes, especially pertaining to the arts; performing and visual arts events; and meetings for governmental agencies, community organizations, corporations and nonprofits.

Q: How does the center benefit the community?

A: It brings people downtown and enhances the already thriving arts scene in Lancaster. It also provides traffic for downtown businesses and provides a focal point for all the diverse communities that call Lancaster home.

Q: I see there is also a Ville in the Sky café. What is this?

A: It’s a beautiful wood-floored lounge on our third floor with two-story glass walls that overlook the city of Lancaster (that’s where the “in the Sky” part comes from). We use it to house our cabarets, jazz series, lectures with a twist and other events that call for a spectacular room.

Q: How does this center benefit the surrounding local community in Lancaster city? Are classes still held The Ware Center?

A: We benefit when the community supports what we do here. We believe we should offer events and performances that are created or preferred by the community for the community. Yes, classes are held here. We have between 200 and 400 students taking classes here Monday through Thursday nights.

Q: How long does it normally take to wash those gorgeously enormous front windows at 42 N. Prince?

A: Surprisingly not that long. They have special equipment (with long handles) that makes the chore simpler than it would appear.

Q: What is Keys for the City and what was the purpose of participating in it?

A: Keys for the City is a program where pianos are distributed around the city in public places for people to play, created by Music For Everyone (MFE). This is an organization that seeks to raise funds to keep music programming in our schools. It makes sense to support any organization that seeks to support music education. Also, MFE is headquartered in our building.

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: I am originally from Mechanicsburg, Pa., but my parents were from Lancaster.

Q: Do you participate in the arts in your personal life?

A: Every minute of my life.

Q: If I were to steal your iPod and hit play right now, what would I hear?

A: You’d hear all kinds of music from classical and Broadway to rock and country. I have not met a music genre I don’t like.

Q: Do you own a tuxedo or do you rent?

A: I have three. My weight fluctuates.

Q: What is the most exciting part of your job?

A: Getting to create something out of nothing; creating new and exciting public performance opportunities in a wide variety of arts: Dance, classical music, popular music, jazz, small theatrical presentations, lectures, art exhibits, opera, film, special events and festivals.

Q: If you could book any artist of any kind for The Ware Center location, who would it be? Why?

A: I’ve already done it – Daniella Dalli and Katie Wieand in a special performance called “Let’s Duet.” These are two of the best singers I’ve ever heard, and together, they make an unbelievably good show.

Q: What will your life look like when you retire?

A: A happy, satisfied one. I hope to go into retirement knowing I’ve done something significant for Lancaster and Millersville University.

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