11-year-old Nora Lynn Rozema from Meppel cannot imagine that she will no longer be able to receive jazz dance lessons at Kunstencentrum Scala next year. To prevent this, she started a petition Red Scala!.

    The petition has been online for a week and has already been signed more than 2500 times. Nora Lynn never expected that and the media attention also surprises her a bit. As long as it generates many signatures under the petition. That’s what Nora Lynn does it for. She fights for her classes at the Arts Center. “If it’s gone, I’ll have to go somewhere else. If that’s possible. It’s way too much fun,” she says of her jazz dance lessons with Miss Claudia.

    Jazz dance

    Her parents Johan and Jacomijn Rozema have told Nora Lynn and her sister Feline about the financial problems at Scala and that their lessons may have to stop next year. In addition to jazz dance lessons, Nora Lynn also receives drawing lessons at the Center for the Arts.

    That message from her parents has not left Nora Lynn cold. “At a certain point I get out of the shower and then Nora Lynn suddenly says: “Dad, we have to start a petition for Scala.” “I was a bit perplexed. I didn’t even know she knew that word,” says Johan about her initiative.

    “We talked about it at school,” explains Nora Lynn, who is in group 8 of the Kornalijn, how she knew how to bring the problem to the attention of a wide audience at Scala. At the Kwadraatschool, where she has lessons on Wednesdays, teacher Anja was willing to help her draw up. And Nora Lynn was allowed to work with it in class. “But I wrote the petition almost all by myself,” she says.

    Her petition is up https://petities.nl/petitions/red-scala?locale=nl . It reads: ‘(Parents of) children who take lessons at Scala and anyone who cares about Scala finds that it would be a real shame if Scala were to disappear, children can develop at Scala. If Scala is no longer there, they will have much less choice and they will not be able to do everything they would rather like. Scala attracts people. If there is little to do in a city for children art and culture, it is really a lot less attractive! We request the municipalities of Meppel, Hoogeveen, Steenwijkerland, De Wolden, Westerveld, Staphorst and Weststellingwerf to make it (financially) possible that Scala can keep its doors open and that this means that children can continue to follow their lessons in their free time!’

    The primary school student keeps a close eye on the counter of the petition. “At first I checked every five minutes, but now I only check for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she says. Where will the counter end? She dare not name a number. “I had not expected the 2500.”

    Offer

    Collecting the signatures is one thing, presenting them is another. The Rozema house is still thinking about this a lot. “Maybe we will do it before the city council meeting on December 22 in Meppel,” says Nora Lynn. Scala, who very much welcomes the student’s action, could also be involved, with a demonstration by the jazz dancers, for example. “We still have to look at that.”

    It is also important that the message not only gets across to politicians in Meppel, but also in the municipalities of Steenwijkerland, De Wolden, Westerveld and Hoogeveen.

    Scala recently announced that it will no longer have a right to exist in the long term. The foundation is in the process of dissolving itself in order to avoid bankruptcy. Until January 1, 2023, they can still guarantee the obligations towards teachers and staff. The problems arose due to a significant drop in the number of students in corona time. The Arts Center has insufficient financial ‘fat on its bones’ to absorb this and still has to cough up at least 150,000 euros due to a split in the organisation.

    “As parents, we hope that the municipalities will come up with a bridge and Scala will have a chance to become future-proof. It is so important for the youth”, concludes Johan Rozema.

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