Nearly four years ago, I wrote a column for this publication about how I grew up near a college campus. I told of how I was surrounded by play productions, concert recitals, innovative architecture, art galleries and many other cultural activities. This enriched environment, found in a small upstate New York town, is forever etched in my mind and influences me to this day. At that time, recognizing the current and future potential cultural life of Charlotte County, I thought to do my small part in building on this success by giving a call for the arts.
The reason for this was simple — people want to live and work where there is a rich creative and cultural life. Yes, innovative communities grow their economies by attracting employers who provide well-paying jobs. And yes, employers are attracted by incentives communities provide. But communities thrive and sustain when there is a confluence of conditions that encourage innovation and creativity, such as good schools and colleges, lucrative employment, and opportunities for residents to express and participate in culture and creative endeavors. Although in detail sometimes controversial, I highly encourage you to read any of Richard Florida’s works on the “creative class” for support of this premise.
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