Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mayor Ness Press Conference Praises Local Arts Community

Tuesday's Duluth News Tribune had a story on the front page of its Local section by reporter Mike Creger titled Report: Arts push Duluth's appeal. The essence of the piece was to announce a press conference that Mayor Ness would be conducting that morning in a couple hours having to do with a report developed by national urban-planning experts who visited Duluth in 2005 and again in 2011.

Creger's article begins:

Six years of talking and building on progress culminates in a report to be released today that outlines a vision for the vitality of the eastern downtown, hillside and waterfront areas of the city.

Mayor Don Ness will talk about “The Duluth Creative Corridor” at a 10:30 a.m. news conference in the lobby of the Zeitgeist Arts Building on East Superior Street.

National urban-planning experts joined Duluthians beginning in 2005 to talk about ramping up the public appeal of Old Downtown and its surroundings.

His relatively brief article summarizes the findings of these experts in a concluding paragraph:

“The Duluth Creative Corridor will reposition Duluth as one of the country’s great urban places,” it reads. “As evidenced by its exceptional progress to date and the continued support for a bold, shared vision, the city has the requisite public and private leadership and fortitude to make that happen.”

But what I want to know is, what did Mayor Ness say at the press conference? Why was there no follow up story in the paper the next day?

I'm curious if the media shows up for these press conferences. The Perfect Duluth Day community blog had no article, only a copy of the 78-page report to download. The Trib likewise enables you to download the report on its website as well, which the public can likewise obtain by going to Mayor Ness' website. I doubt the Reader had anyone there because Tuesday is their push to go to press by Wednesday. Maybe we will see something in a month in Business North?

The visits from our national city-planning experts were no small deal. There were as many as a thousand people from a whole range of constituencies involved in the meetings and walking tours that comprised their 2005 and 2011 visits.

The report calls what happened a "charrette," which seems to be an interesting word selection. It's French in origin, and means, "a final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline."

I like the sound of the word, but when I look for a synonym in the thesaurus to put it in laymen's terms, there are no synonyms, not even in Rodale's Synonym Finder, a much larger volume. I would like to see what we can do to bridge the gap between the people who use words like charrette and those who couldn't even guess what it means.

Page 5 of the report states, "Duluth's progress since the 2005 charrette has been remarkable." Of this I can find many who will attest the same. But there are still many arts community issues yet to be addressed, and it wasn't that long ago that I recall a Duluth News Tribune article noting that our Central Hillside, where many of our artists live and which is adjacent to the "arts corridor," was one of the five most impoverished neighborhoods in the nation.  

I'll glean what I can from the report and will try to pass it on. We march forward with cautious optimism.

No comments: