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Letter: HPAAC keeps working hard to foster the arts

To the editor,

Last week, the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) hosted a two-day conversation addressing the role of the arts in a community's civic life and economic development. Approximately 200 local residents participated in one of six meetings with Artspace, Inc., a nationally recognized non-profit developer of spaces for artists and arts-related businesses. In the coming weeks, Artspace will deliver a summary report including their findings and recommendations.

It is HPAAC's expectation that this work will be an important contribution to the planning for the Hudson Manufacturing building and other potential redevelopment sites. Artspace has demonstrated, in more than 30 nationwide sites, redevelopment projects that emphasize and include the arts have led to success. Old buildings are saved, tourism and commerce grows, new property tax revenues are generated and, most importantly, communities of creative people enrich communities. Lanesboro and Lowertown St. Paul were cited as two examples where the arts led to revitalization and the growth of vibrant new neighborhoods and cities.

More than 50 local artists participated in the Artspace meetings, expressing their needs and desires, including studio space, lower cost housing, joint marketing opportunities and performance space. More than 75 citizens attended a public meeting to hear about and comment on the importance of the Hudson building and the importance of a vision for our community including the arts.

HPAAC wants to thank all of the people who came to one of our meetings.We want to thank City Hall and city staff for their hospitality and support. And thank you for supporting our overall mission, which is "To foster the arts in the Hastings/Prescott area."

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--Dick Graham

HPAAC chair