Community Voices: Roswell growing in arts and entertainment diversity

Vicki Griffin has lived in Roswell for 22 years. You can reach her at


Live from Roswell, it’s Saturday night!

The Second City improvisational comedy touring company returns to the Roswell Cultural Arts Center for two shows on June 7. And although it’s one of the most popular shows at the bustling venue, it’s just one of many offerings. With Roswell increasingly becoming an entertainment destination, it’s no longer necessary to fight downtown Atlanta traffic to find a little culture.

The Second City group has a cast that may soon become Not Ready for Prime-Time Players, if the success of past performers is any indication. Alumni of Second City tour groups include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler, Cecily Strong and Jane Lynch and Stephen Colbert.

A proving ground for generations of developing comedy talent, a Second City show is an introduction to tomorrow’s stars. That’s why I took my adult sons to last year’s sold-out show, because this is not family fare. Mature themes and suggestive topics abound, teetering on the edge of good taste, but all in good fun. Tickets are on sale now, and although they are not free, they may be easier to secure than those for the actual Saturday Night Live in New York City.

That kind of big-city entertainment along with some long-standing events is what Roswell is about.

The city offers a variety of culturally rich and entertaining events, with Alive After 5, First Friday Art Walks, Shakespeare on the Barrington Hall Lawn, open hearth cooking demonstrations in the Cook House at Smith Plantation, and the Riverside Sounds Concert Series all underway, and all free of charge. Donations are accepted for the North Fulton Drama Club’s presentation of King Lear.

Civil War stories will come to life this summer as Roswell hosts a Sesquicentennial living history event with reenactments of the encampment of Union soldiers, the arrest of the women mill workers in the Town Square and featuring live music and dancing of the 1860’s.

The Roswell Roots Festival, a celebration of Black history, was recently recognized by the Southeastern Festival and Events Association with the Gold award for Best Cultural Event at the 2014 Kaleidoscope Awards. Next February’s celebration is already being planned, and opinions and suggestions are being sought via the Roswell Roots online survey.

Currently, the city is working forward to build a cultural arts master plan, Imagine Roswell, which looks toward the next decade and beyond, and is gathering community input. In addition to the recent Town Hall meeting, an online survey took pulses and asked for ideas. But it’s not too late to arrange a community conversation with a neighborhood, club, or church group by contacting Historic and Cultural Affairs Manager Morgan Timmis at (770) 594-6187.