Monday, October 15, 2018

The big question: Is “The Arts” still the answer for this City of Lake Worth?

There was a public meeting this week at City Hall and below is more information about that. And there is a video too so you can watch for yourself.

Question: In the effort to promote “The Arts” will this City end up becoming the destination for ‘starving artists’ from all over nation and continent? This is a serious public policy discussion just as this coastal region in Central PBC is on the verge of solving the epidemic of ‘sober homes’, stabilizing the housing and real estate markets, and revitalizing so many neighborhoods in need.

And before we proceed, more questions for everyone to ponder.

Is this City of Lake Worth even ready for “top-level thinking”? Should LULA Lake Worth Arts be given more control over the direction of this City or should those decisions be left to elected officials? Should LULA have its own governing board? Should LULA be under the control of the Community Redevelopment Agency or be completely spun off as its own entity?

Unlike the CRA, LULA is not constrained by the boundaries of the CRA district or the boundaries of the Downtown either.

A few more questions.

How much say or control should the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County have in the future of this City? Has focusing on “The Arts” about run its course and now it’s time for another direction, maybe entice developers to construct more modern high-tech office space to attract new business talent and the Millennials and younger generation that are on the cutting-edge of new emerging technologies?

Like what kind of new technology? Like maybe creating energy from the Gulfstream Current. Have you ever heard of SNMREC?

And note that in about twelve years the CRA will sunset. When that day comes is LULA the one to carry on or create another sort of development agency? So many questions!

And please! This is no time for getting upset or storming City Hall with a barrage of questions and demands.

There is plenty of time going forward to make this thing the best thing it can be:

Arts & Cultural Master Plan for Downtown Lake Worth

Stay tuned for more information about this topic. A lot more. This topic was on the agenda last night at City Commission Work Session (see “Executive Brief” below). Both Commissioner Scott Maxwell and City Manager Michael Bornstein were absent. Asst. City Manager Juan Ruiz was on the dais last night.

The discussion on this agenda item took fifty-two minutes and the YouTube video is below. Giving the presentation to the City Commission were:

From the agenda last night:

Executive Brief Title: Discussion of Arts & Cultural Master Plan for Downtown Lake Worth.

Summary: Discussion of final Arts & Cultural Master Plan for Downtown Lake Worth developed by Lord Cultural Resources and Jon Stover Associates under the direction of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency and the City of Lake Worth.

Background and Justification: In January 2016, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County and its partners, Lake Worth CRA and the City of Lake Worth, engaged the team of Lord Cultural Resources and Jon Stover Associates to facilitate development of this Arts and Culture Master Plan for Downtown Lake Worth.

Working with a Steering Committee consisting of the core client team and community stakeholders representing a cross section of Lake Worth residents and organizations, the consultant team has facilitated an 18-month process to develop this strategy and accompanying implementation plan to boost arts and culture in Downtown Lake Worth and thereby revitalize the Downtown corridor.

This Arts and Culture Master Plan was commissioned to address distinct objectives specific to the City’s arts and culture needs in the Downtown. The Arts and Cultural Master Plan will establish a cultural district to support local talent while promoting the Downtown as a destination for the art related businesses, art and cultural programs and arts-related education.

The Master Plan reflects the community’s desire to utilize arts and culture to enhance the sense of community; enhance economic vitality that is linked to arts and culture; create and support a Downtown environment where art and culture thrive and enrich the community culturally, aesthetically, educationally and economically.

Goals for the Arts and Cultural Master Plan are:
  • Elevate quality of life and prosperity in downtown.
  • Fill the talent gap.
  • Support and promote local artists.
  • Leverage the community’s strengths.
  • Act as a catalyst for ongoing economic investment in the community.

The document has been presented to the Lake Worth CRA Board, the City Planning & Zoning Board and the City Historic Resources Preservation Board. [emphasis added] After discussion before the City Commission, the plan will be brought back through a formal approval/acceptance process as part of major Comprehensive Plan Amendment to serve as an additional reference and appendix.

In the executive brief above, note all the references to art, artists, education in the arts and arts-related businesses. The title of this blog post is, “The big question: Is ‘The Arts’ still the answer for this City of Lake Worth?” A few more questions.

Will the arts and artists come to stay or will this City be just another ‘Arts Destination’ hoping to get noticed along I-95 and the Brightline railroad tracks? Can this six square mile City rely on “The Arts” to compete when West Palm Beach and Delray Beach are doing almost the exact same thing?

Or will this City end up hosting the proverbial ‘starving artists’?

Please refer to the list of presenters
earlier in this blog post.

In the video below a summary of the Arts and Cultural Master Plan is given by William Waters and ends at the 17:00 minute mark. Then Jon Stover begins to explain the “top-level thinking” that went into this plan. At about the 30 minute mark Stover gets into implementation and objectives and later the electeds have questions and comments. At the 54 minute mark David Lawrence is introduced and makes his concluding remarks:

Thank You for visiting today and hope you found this information helpful.

Have thoughts to share with your elected leaders? To contact the mayor and commissioners in Districts 1–4 click on this link. And remember to be nice and respectful and ask the question, “Is there anything I can do to help?”