At 93 years old, Lucy Vianello is a driving force behind the Columbia arts community.
Vianello grew up in New York City where she was first exposed to opera. After marrying a musician, Vianello moved to Columbia in 1968. Vianello and her husband, Hugo, noticed that bands were popular in schools because of sports, but something was missing. Orchestras for young people were almost nonexistent.
In 1970, the Vianellos began the Missouri Symphony Society. In 1977, they decided it was time to bring some professionals into the association. To preserve the Missouri Theatre as a performing arts center, they bought the Missouri Theatre in 1987. Almost 50 years later, Vianello remains on the board and attends concerts to show her support.
TRYPS Founder and Executive Artistic Director
Jill Womack founded Theater Reaching Young People in Schools 20 years ago, and it has continued to grow ever since.
Womack has a background in teaching theater at a collegiate level. Among other things, she directs, produces and creates workshops for the organization. TRYPS’ mission is to teach, reach and inspire through the magic of theater. Not only does it teach children about the performing arts, but also life. The program seeks to reach young people who might have little exposure to the arts. The children are challenged to find their own creative voices, whether that be on the stage or off.
Womack said art is important because it challenges people to open their minds and change their perspectives or values. She said she considers the arts to be a safe and creative way to get a community talking. Womack views TRYPS as a big family and is certain that TRYPS will continue to grow and push forward in Columbia.