Berwick Maine is undergoing a transformation… and our creative culture should be considered more of a contender than it has been up until now.
We all like the idea of a beautiful downtown, a place where we gather as people to build on ideas, communicate and make relationships.
The easy fix to the Berwick problem is to allow a major corporation from very far out of town (FOJ, the current owners of Prime Tanning) to hold us over a barrel an back us into thinking there is only one way out of our mess.
maybe, this is the case, that there is only one way out…although, I've never found that to ever be true in most cases.
Are they investing in you? as individuals? as tax payers?
We are getting an impression that we will get a beautiful downtown, our taxes don't get messed with and if we are lucky wonderful things happen all around.
(why do i keep thinking of the CMP saying "Your rates will not go up if you just let us…")
Towns have long been built by townspeople, and I personally would like to see what happens organically to our downtown as time passes and more locals build it brick by brick with sweat and tears from ideas, to reality.
Will FOJ hire local artists & architects to design buildings that make sense to our community? Maybe they will use the local wood workers to custom make gorgeous interiors with local wood? or will they hire a Berwick artist to construct a sculpture to place in the center of town?
Or do you think that a generic sense of place will be built to placate a paying developer that sees potential financial opportunity?
I may be a dreamer, but I envision a Berwick built by those that love it here, those of us that have roots grown in the ground here, those of us that have children in a school here or volunteer for the fire department…those of us that fought to stay here when not much else was left and we were left unsupported both financially and as creative thinkers.
I personally know way more than 10 artists or community members that if given space, time and opportunity in Berwick, would build something amazing to share with the community…whether it's a gallery or museum, a clothing store, a candle company, or a downtown sculpture, they could, and would do it ...if given the needed support.
So why are we supporting this idea of giving FOJ full opportunity again after they have squandered their first attempt and left a brownfield superfund site and poverty stricken townspeople in it's wake?
I don't propose that I know the definitive answer to this, my lot is to question, look at many angles and consider, as an artist, this is what I am trained to do, and I would kindly ask that you do the same…just consider.
Did you know...
that Berwick Maine is the home to many artists that are known internationally as well as the Northeast?
Let's first start there, with our neighbors, and find what we have already and utilize it before allowing opportunity for strangers to tell us what we need to do to grow a thriving town.
what if 2% of development revenues were turned into new business grants for residents?
what if 1% was used to purchase art?
what if 4% was given to offer small business training to residents?
so many possibilities have not yet been considered...
written by: Erin Duquette
ps link add on to continue your reading.…TOP TEN REASONS TO SUPPORT THE ARTS IN 2014
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul