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COVID & the Arts: Center for Living Arts

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Lindsey Munson
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During the pandemic, a Rock Island mom is donating to help her daughter, and the theater her daughter loves.

Like other Quad-Cities theaters, the Center for Living Arts in downtown Rock Island is closed, and that's devastating many families. Lindsey Munson - who recently self-published two short paperbacks she wrote about her adopted children from Ethiopia - is doing something about it.

To help the Center while it’s shut due to Covid-19, Munson is donating half the sales of two new books she wrote about her family to Center owners Dino and Tina Hayz. The books, called "Munson Marvels," are available for $12.99 each on Amazon. 

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Credit Lindsey Munson
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Yenework Munson

Munson's adopted daughter, Yenework, who's almost 7, has been in Center shows since late 2018 and has really blossomed, her mom says. She used to be shy and scared, filled with anxiety. But not anymore.

"She walks around more confidently now, and she's doing things more independently than what she ever did before. So that confidence just shines out from her now."

Munson, a special-education paraprofessional with the Rock Island school district, says the Center is a place where kids can express themselves, live creatively, and empower themselves, and they don't want to lose it.

She and her husband Tony adopted their son Abi from Ethiopia in 2012 and Yenework in 2013. She wrote the books about their adoption journey and how the kids adapted to their new life, to help other parents. The new show, "High School Musical, Jr.," was going to be done in late April and early May, and may be canceled altogether. 

Munson is donating half the sales of her books to the Center.

"I can't imagine if the one thing my daughter loves is taken away. It would break my heart, not just for my daughter, but for the future of all of our kids." 

Dino Hayz said several families have been donating during this time, which will help pay for the theater’s ongoing expenses and the cost of future shows. For more information on the Center, visit centerforliving.org.

Formerly the arts and entertainment reporter for The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus and Quad-City Times, Jonathan Turner now writes freelance for WVIK and QuadCities.com. He has experience writing for daily newspapers for 32 years and has expertise across a wide range of subject areas, including government, politics, education, the arts, economic development, historic preservation, business, and tourism. He loves writing about music and the arts, as well as a multitude of other topics including features on interesting people, places, and organizations. He has a passion for accompanying musicals, singers, choirs, and instrumentalists. He even wrote his own musical based on The Book of Job, which premiered at Playcrafters in 2010. He wrote a 175-page history book about downtown Davenport, which was published by The History Press in 2016. Turner was honored in 2009 to be among 24 arts journalists nationwide to take part in a 10-day fellowship offered by the National Endowment for the Arts in New York City on classical music and opera, based at Columbia University’s journalism school.
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