According to this article, the state Council on the Arts is holding sessions across the state
. . . to develop an area’s arts scene, culture and history as a catalyst for economic development, said Heather Hitchens, executive director of the arts council.
An important part of businesses deciding where to locate is the community, including the talent pool, local schools and arts and cultural resources, said Kenneth Tompkins, regional director of the Empire State Development Mohawk Valley Regional Office.What an absolute crock!
Utica may be small, but its cultural resources are rich, and have been rich for a long time: The Utica Symphony, MV Ballet, M-W-P Arts Institute, Sculpture Space, Players Theater, Turning Stone, etc. etc. Communities our size elsewhere would die to have what we have . . . BUT THEY ARE THRIVING AND WE ARE NOT.
Anyone with half an ounce of awareness of what is going on around them can see that cultural opportunities, as wonderful as they are for enriching our lives, rarely contribute to economic development in the manner in which Mr. Tompkins suggests.
Rather, it is the other way around: As an area goes into economic decline, cultural amenities slowly wither away. Buffalo, which has always had a thriving arts scene, just lost its Studio Arena Theater. The community could no longer support it. Utica's Summer Arts Festival sponsored by MWPAI is only a shadow of what it was as little as 5 years ago, the performing arts offerings severely curtailed. How much longer will Greater Utica be able to support the Ballet or the Symphony? Fund drives seem to come more often seeking more money.
About 60 people attended various workshops during the day to identify weaknesses, opportunities and calls for action.Solutions?
When the group convened later in the day, they had identified some common problems and possible solutions.
. . . better relationships and communications between organizations . . .Sounds more like a lot of opportunities for our elites to meet and greet . . . and to marshal social pressure for more public funding (grants).
. . . better links between large and small organizations . . .
Creating a united voice and vision for state organizations . . .
Those who attended the event included officials from Otsego, Schoharie, Montgomery, Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida counties. They said they were generally pleased about its direction.Of course they were pleased . . . they are public officials who have found an excuse to justify their positions . . . and to get a day out of the office.
If government downsized by getting rid of positions focusing on cultural and other types of development, and doing away with all the grants, the money left in people's pockets would fund entrepreneurial activity, which would create more jobs, which would increase incomes . . . which would support the arts.