Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rocky & Pee Wee: Best Hometown

Click on image to enlarge.

The celebration starts Friday at 5:30 p.m. outside the Senior Center.


Les Groby said...

You're joking (I hope), but this belief that Yellow Springs is an island of aesthetes in a sea of Philistines is sincerely held by many villagers, to our detriment. Perhaps forty years ago the cultural amenities and the level of art appreciation were markedly superior here compared to other small towns in the area, due mainly to the presence of the college, but today, those who still think we're All That culturally can't be paying attention to what's happening in surrounding communities. We probably have a higher than usual proportion of career artists than most small towns, and definitely a high proportion of people who think of themselves as artists but can't make a living at it, but if you look at Miamisburg, Englewood, Centerville, Urbana—hell, even South Charleston—and you will find galleries, opera houses, theater groups, community bands, active libraries, coffee houses, cultural festivals, and appreciative local people who support them. Both the economic and population decline of Yellow Springs and the improvement of cultural amenities in surrounding communities have lowered any stand-out status we might once have deserved. As I've said here before, we have the seeds of an arts community here, and it could pay of to cultivate them, but we have competitors in that field and are not Special or unique in possessing such assets. Some of our cultural assets, such as the school music programs and the theater and dance events hosted at the college, are in jeopardy.

The restoration of the population and economy of Yellow Springs can be thwarted when this snobbish exceptionalism motivates public policy. The effort to shut off growth by completing the Green Moat around town, the efforts to control who is and is not welcome as a newcomer to village expressed through the visioning process and the proposal for an "economic sustainability commision", the denigration of Young's Dairy and Antioch MacGregor, the whining about out of town students in our schools, and the refusal of village council to act on improving our electrical system and secure baseline power, all are rooted in a sense of superiority. Rest assured this attitude is noticed by others and has a repellant effect on people who might otherwise consider living or doing business here—including artists. Unless we start to get over ourselves, and communicate that we have done so to others with policies that are welcoming, we're going to have a very hard time reversing our village's decline.

Yvonne said...

Thanks for saying it, Les. Add to that the fact that many people who participate in the arts: artists, musicians, writers, etc, cannot afford to live here because of that attitude affecting the housing costs, and we are "cutting off our nose to spite our face." Unless one has a trust fund or a sugar daddy, it's nearly impossible to afford to live here and many who have grown up here cannot come back--isn't that sad? We are NOT the cultural community we once were, although we act like we still are....