Creatives Receive Platitudes 

In the decade-plus since I arrived on the banks of the Rivah James, I've been alternately amused and enraged by the lip service the business and civic leaders here give to the creative community in RVA ("Brilliant Disguise," Back Page, July 6).

Antebellum attitudes and "third most tattooed city in the United States" reality don't mesh well — and since most of the money in town is in the hands of the leaders aforementioned, the creative class gets assigned second-class status. Unless, of course, the leaders are in the mood for a show.

I salute the idea of Innovative Excellence, but the execution was damned from the outset because of its organizing body. The chamber folks are all very nice people. They care about Richmond. But they have no earthly idea how to put the creative class to use, because they seek to fit things within their own framework, rather than embracing chaos to see what rises from the heaving scrum.

The city itself is schizoid, one minute wringing its hands about kids playing loud music on Broad Street during First Fridays, the next bemoaning that there isn't enough creative energy in town? Really?

How about engaging the Broad Street irregulars in a street-art project? There's little enough for kids to do in the city that doesn't have an admission charge. Harness that desire to congregate and share. My prediction is it will amaze the heck out of everybody (including the kids).

Creative energy comes from the bottom, not the top.

Casey Quinlan



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