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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Blog Assignment #6

Please post a paragraph long question in response to the reading for Wednesday's class by noon on Wednesday.

9 comments:

  1. The statement, “City-building is a complicated stew, but the principles Riley outlined are simple: vision, leadership, and a commitment to long-term value for the entire city rather than just short-term profit for individuals,” can easily be linked to the situation of the North Limestone neighborhood. This part of the city seems to easily fall into the category of having once been a site of short-sighted, personal gains and little or no meaningful long-term commitments or leadership following it’s descent into the poverty stricken bad-part-of-town. Though the attempts to improve the neighborhood’s reputation and physical image are being made by those who are fortunate enough to have the disposable income to invest in redefining the neighborhood, there are still issues of displacement through gentrification and the consequences that increased property values may have upon the impoverished. It seems quite difficult to determine when and how to go about beautifying a neighborhood or city, especially when there is so much intricate history, all varieties of personal investments, and a laundry list of other concerns/issues which must first be addressed. I wonder how Mayor Joe Riley manages these issues and if his method of beautification could be successfully translated to the North Limestone neighborhood.

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  2. My question addresses Eblen's article titled "Let's talk more to, not just about, the creative class."

    The article speaks of the laments of a "dozen or so of the smartest young people Kentucky has produced in recent years."

    (Before going any further with my question I need to point out how this kind of language fractures the creative minds in a community by isolating a handful of them as better, by creating competition for such praise where collaboration would be a more fruitful. Based on another article about Everett McCorvey, I expect he would have a similar response to this sentiment.)

    One of the laments mentioned is a lack of acceptance and philanthropy for the local arts community, relative to other cities. I wonder if the creatives gathered at the Miller house addressed how these two points (acceptance and philanthropy are different, and possibly contradictory). Serving on the boards of large and small arts organizations I hear these same laments. Growing and facilitating more philanthropic giving is a way to fund programs immediately. This is, unfortunately for our future, where most energy is spent. Increasing acceptance has very little to do with money. This speaks of education and children. If Kentucky schools increased their commitment to the arts the entire state would have an increased understanding of and passion for the arts. This is not conjecture, it is proven by other states. Instead the KY education system has recently removed the testing for the arts. Though this may seem like a good thing (because testing is a suspect approach to the arts), it means that schools will continue to cut arts. They are expensive and now there is no test to mandate their existence.

    There are many cities with more philanthropy for the arts and we should pursue that but without an effort to increase acceptance at the level of education increased philanthropic art practice will most likely also increase the distance between those who participate in the arts and those who do not. It will corporatize the arts and create distance between art itself and the people who live in the community.

    Please tell us that the smartest young people in Kentucky are aware of this, that they are discussing ways to increase the audience for art and not just the funding for it.

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  3. Also with respect to "Let's talk to, not just about, the creactive class", it seems as though the article gears creativity to be a means to inprove the city as an end result, where it may be better (and this may seem redundant to Kurt's point) to focus as creativity and the cultivation of creative people or the "creative class" as the goal instead. Not just in the arts. There needs to be change reaching further out than people with established careers and agendas, and into education, vocational programs, and public services.

    I do like how your other article discussing the events surrounding the Creative City Summit, and the spin-off events "What now, Lexington?" seems to be headed in that direction. At least, it should give us a good idea where our strongest community members sit.

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  4. This is in response to two articles that have already been discussed, the one concerning the mayor of Charleston and the other about the "creative class". I wonder how often we discuss not only what kind of arts community we are trying to appeal to, but what kind of socioeconomic class too. In the second article, you mention that creative young people "loved Lexington’s quality of life, livable neighborhoods and the potential of its human-scale downtown." And yet they also "saw great potential for reviving parts of town that have seen better days, such as the Distillery District and old Northside neighborhoods." It seems that one of these solutions is offered in the article concerning the mayor, where a smaller amount of funding to revitalize rather than remake the community helps to maintain Lexington's authenticity while attracting new and old community members.

    While I realize that it is attractive to have a nicer city fueled by the arts, I wonder where the focus is for those already within the community. The 'creative class' is usually the class who has the time to be creative. A single mother working two jobs in the North Limestone neighborhood does not have time to attend these summits and discuss the future of her artistic community. The economic reality would seem to trump the idealistic opportunities. When we discuss a creative class, I am afraid we marginalize the other members of the community who do not 'fit' in this mold. Perhaps before we begin to appease the middle class members of our community, we should try to improve the lifestyle of the lower classes. How will a more creative community engage this sector? Where are their opinions when we discuss Lexington's future?

    I like Kurt's point that it starts with education. Forming a creative class and revitalizing a city to match that of Charleston takes many years. The steps being taken are important but it's also important to question whether they have the best intentions for the overall population.

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  5. The information concerning the Legacy Trail and Public Arts Consortium was very interesting. I noticed that most of this was application materials and interest forms and the deadline for a realized trail is in September 2010 for the World Equestrian Games. How has this deadline affected the process of this project? Has it made it more rushed? Or did it provided the needed incentive to get this project off the ground? Where does the project stand now? Has an artist been chosen for the overall design? How far along has the project come and will it actually finish the downtown part by Sept. 2010?

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  6. From Paul:

    I was curious about the "Now What, Lexington" group and how and what they have been doing since the article that you wrote. It seems like a great idea and I would be interested to see how far it has come or in what stage of development it is in.

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  7. "fear of taking risks" was brought up in a couple articles (the creative class article and the article about Bruce) because Lexington is "such a small town". it seems to me, that there is a simple solution to this. he or she who points out the lack of risk taking, or in the case of the "creative class", the need to "expand Lexington's horizon's" take the risks, or move back to Lexington. How can someone that seperates themselves from Lexington to dwell in "the big cities" expect the people who chose to stay in Lexington to carry out their ideas of social, economic, and/or creative progress?

    When I think of the creative class of Lexington, I think of those who have opened their restaurant, bar, or shop, and invited the community to participate in their passion and lives, and the community members who spend their time there. The people who do not just "love" "Lexington’s quality of life, livable neighborhoods and the potential of its human-scale downtown", but enhance it.

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  8. My question has to do with the master plan for a “museum without walls” along the Legacy Trail being built in Lexington. I was impressed that the Request for Qualifications issued to artists, creative teams, and others interested in designing this master plan includes a brief history of Lexington and a few links to aid in researching Lexington’s past. I was pleased to see the number of sites and communities mentioned as part of the geographical and social context surrounding the Trail. I was also pleased to know that the designer(s) of the master plan are encouraged to use environmentally friendly materials. But this all seems like a lot of work, a lot more than seems doable in the span of 4 months: from the time the finalist is selected to the time the Master Plan is unveiled, according to the timeline. I wonder if this is a typical timeline or if it is dictated by the WEG scheduled for September 2010. What is the current state of the master plan?

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  9. With the building of the Legacy Trail, there are four districts in which the trail will span. One of these areas is the Coldstream Research Park and more specifically the Maine Chance section, which is home to UK’s Agricultural Research facilities, the transitional sections on which the plan hinges: the beginning transition from urban to rural Kentucky landscape. According to the reading, this is going to be an opportunity to educate the public about the important environmental factors that have put Lexington in the World Monument Fund’s 100 Most Endangered Sites due to suburban sprawl. UK currently owns much of this area as a part of their agricultural research as does Vulcan a large company that provides aggregates from stone, gravel, cement, and sand for construction materials nation-wide. Vulcan has the right to mine the surface and subsurface of the land they currently own. It controls much of the designated straight-line route of the future Legacy Trail. For pedestrians to safely traverse this area, there cannot be any surface mining. And I do not see that to appeal to their hopes of banking on this district as an environmentally educational area. .. “ And kids, if you will look to the right, you can see the sand blasts that are occurring as the environment is destroyed and plants and animals are forced to alternative habitat, which is an example of Lexington’s dedication to ecological sustainability.”
    From what I understand, this is the reason for the Vulcan Conditional Use Permit by which Vulcan will be giving up their rights to mine the surface by transferring their surface title to UK in exchange for mineral rights under the Maine Chance Farm. This addresses the visual goals of the Lexington region and the economical goals, because they are able to make the trail a direct route, supposing that the Permit has passed or will pass. With little knowledge about the Kentucky area and certainly to expert in environmental studies or the practices of Vulcan, I am concerned with the exchange being yet another way to “undermine” sustainable efforts by keeping them visually from the public. Also, I am concerned with whether or not the Watershed, the primary source of drinking water for Georgetown, will be affected with the increase in an increase in underground mining by Vulcan as a part of the agreement. Could you please further explain these issues and provide an update on the current standing of the Vulcan Conditional Use Permit?

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