We’ve heard it all now. Or most of it, anyway.
The Creative Class. Richard Florida. The “culturally curious.” City/NFP partnerships. All these transplants that have the fever for more art like they were used to back home. The throngs of 30-something hip cultured folks that are going to invade Downtown any minute now. Mayor Iorio’s “City of the Arts.”
But then we hear the other stuff, too: brain drain, lack of support, flight to bigger and better cities, that the area cares more about a scene (as in being a scenester) than they do about the actual art, that all these groups are too clique-ish and insular, that this area is too blue-collar and the government too old-boy to ever change.
So, are we ready? Where are we, really? Is the current ‘doom and gloom’ cast by war, oil, the economy, health care and everything else foreshadowing a potential renaissance? Or is this just the latest in a catch-phrase-come-book-turned-speaking-tour?
Now that I’ve been in Tampa 10 years come August, I think that’s still entirely up for debate. I see progress and regression. As we likely will see until one side wins out. I like to consider myself (and Jobsite) part of the solution. I personally see more progress than regression, but it is very often two steps forward one step back – which can be frustrating. I’m good at keeping the perspective of that forward motion, and that leads to feeling more accomplished than stepped on.
Where do you see yourself? Are you active? Are you at the very least providing lip service (that is if you don’t ever actually go do anything) or if you are active are you going deeper into your circles and generating word of mouth? If you’re a talker, moaner, complainer, bandwagoner or just vocal fan – are you putting your money where your mouth is?
If you’re reading this, you probably are. This be the choir over here, where I typically preach. But there are way too many people in this area (officials, various committee members, business folks, “movers and shakers”, scenesters and even some of the artists themselves) that are way too much talk with so very little action.
Read this CreLo article that talks about the “RenGen” and marketing guru Patricia Martin’s Tampa visit. I’ve already jumped into the comments there, and I encourage you to do the same.
Be part of the solution, it’s so much easier than most folks think.