February 16, 2010

Wishin' & Hopin'

No, this isn't going to be a post about Dusty Springfield, but I am doing some "wishin' and hopin'" of my own.  :D

Today I attended a very informative meeting about the future of Fond du Lac's downtown, and how the Arts Council is partnering with the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership and creating an "Arts District".

The consultants met with us (artists and performers) today to talk about what we would need in order for us  to make this dream a reality.  There were many different opinions about what would constitute this "Arts District" - performing arts venue, artists' studios (that's my main focus!), arts education, gallery space - it was all quite heady.

And when I say "heady", I mean:  what if?  What if this dream were actually realized?  What if we could make Fond du Lac a destination for art-related activities? 

I imagine an area where artists could collaborate and earn a living doing what we love, at an actual out-of-the-house studio.  I would love to see Fond du Lac have a "gallery night" - lots of cities have them and the ones I've attended (Oshkosh and Duluth, MN) have been really well-attended.

There is an image amongst many Fond du Lacians that our city is good for nothing but catching walleye and drinking beer.  Yes, we are known for our Walleye Weekend, and yes, many, many beverages are consumed there.  But it certainly isn't all we have going for us!  About 10 years ago, our festivals committee formed the Fall Festival, which morphed into the Fondue Fest (get it?  Fond du = Fondue?), and last year 30,000 people attended.  There were also a lot of artists selling their stuff there, so there IS a market for art.

I guess the thing that annoyed me the most about today's meeting was the negativity amongst some of the artists - some were downright beligerent.  I just don't understand this kind of thinking.  Maybe it's scary for some people to get their hopes up.  I can understand that.  But to actually make a point of going to this meeting solely to voice your disapproval of the people of Fond du Lac?  That makes no sense to me.  I think if we all band together and try and make this work, we have a really good shot of something wonderful happening.

To be continued....

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