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Letter: Support local artists, not ones from distant places

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Terry Clark


I must be confused about what an arts district is. In Tom Jekel’s column on the Opinion Page in Sunday’s paper, he mentioned a Kent State performing arts center allowing the district to bring in large numbers of national acts to perform for local ticket holders. This sounds like the money leaves Ohio and goes to New York.

I didn’t think the idea of an arts district was to send money from Columbus into the coffers of national arts organizations. Columbus is a town with a long cultural and artistic history and a great number of native artists. I thought the idea of an arts district was to support local artists and provide a place for them to display their arts and skills to visitors from out of town.

Those visitors would be attracted to Columbus by promotion of our arts district and artists, bringing money into Columbus, not taking money from local wallets and sending it to New York and California.

I realize Jekel hasn’t lived in Columbus very long and is probably not aware of the large number of artists in our area who could use some support to help them succeed. The new Haw Creek Heritage Center in Hope is a better idea for how an arts district should be organized. It could provide room for artists to create; studio space; large, communally owned, expensive items, like ceramic kilns, that can be shared by artists; and gallery space to display the works of these artists.

With the support of a community effort our great local artists, folks like Bob Pulley, Laurie Wright, Debra Slone, Roger Banister, Janie Gordon, Tim Grimm and others, could show the community that we don’t need to import artists to an arts district. We might even be able to get some of our local artists to return to Columbus, folks like Michael Clark, Lydia Burris, Pam Ferry-Smith and other great local artists who moved away in pursuit of their artistic goals.

The large number of artists in Columbus are excited about the arts district but are worried that instead of supporting artists and the arts in Columbus, it will end up competing with our local artists, making it more difficult for them to succeed.

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