Monday, June 9, 2008

Sahara of the Bozart

Today we should see an important "tell' in the cultural contest of our city. The Advertising and Promotion Commission is scheduled to meet for the first time since the City Council passed a Resolution asking that it support the 2008 Fayetteville Arts Festival. Will they deign to approve a small grant to keep the festival alive, or will they dig in their heels and keep the money until a sports event wants it this fall?

The Fayetteville Arts Festival is a fine event that brings visitors to our community and allows our outstanding local artists to exhibit their talents and sell their creations. Moreover, it contributes to the continuing definition of Fayetteville as the cultural center of the region. Whether the A&P Commission thinks it worthy or whether Mencken was right, we'll know this afternoon.

Be watching Mayor Dan Coody and Alderman Robert Rhoads, the two representatives of our city, to measure their leadership on the issue. It will give you some idea of their moxie on the issue of the future of the Walton Arts Center. Bob Davis is supposed to represent the public on the issue and to care about more than just selling an insurance policy to the commission. Tim Freeman of Holiday Inn Express is the newest member. Restaurants are represented by Pat Gazzola of the Catfish Hole, Maudie Schmidt of Cafe Rue Orleans, and Neal Crawford of Jose's.

Who cares about the arts in Fayetteville? There are no members of the A&P Commission appointed to represent cultural organizations. This afternoon we will know if any of the political and business representatives care about anything other than making a buck or pleasing the commercial interests. You can let them know your thoughts, either before or after the vote -- if they actually meet, someone makes a motion, and there is a recorded.

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