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Opinion

Destination plans

SoVaNow.com / June 04, 2009
Dear Viewpoint:

Addressing what is desired in making the Prizery a destination: It is difficult to conceive of making the Prizery a destination as a discrete task. What may be more reasonable, would be easier to accomplish, and would accomplish the same thing and more, would be to make South Boston an Arts Destination - with the Prizery a focal point.

It would be easy to conceptualize gradual, lengthy putting into place showings, classes, a friendly atmosphere for the arts. It would be better to simultaneously aim toward something with a bigger splash, more panache, and easy for people to visualize, relate, and be enthusiastic about. The more ambitious it is, the more people will want to be involved. Small thinking gets small results.

Tanglewood in western Massachusetts has a beautiful environment and location with a lot going on in the summer. A better example for our purposes would be South Carolina’s Spoleto Festival in Charleston.

Spoleto lasts for 17 days. We wouldn’t want to try to do that. It would probably be impossible. We should, though, aim at something slightly more than a week. That way people wouldn’t equate it with “a week” and everyone would notice that it is more ambitious and weighty than “a week.” Perhaps nine days.

It would need to include wine, foods, jazz, classical, opera, theater, dance, visual arts, painting, sculpture, readings, master classes, and many things that we haven’t imagined that we would ever think of.

If that seems easy, here are some tougher parts. We don’t have the infrastructure that we really need. But if the Town developed the riverfront in front of the Prizery, we’d be a long way toward it. If the Rails-to-Trails organization helped to develop the old Richmond-Danville Railroad west, we would tie Berry hill into Downtown with a long walk. Those two things, coupled with some Downtown South Boston parking lot improvements, would put us well along toward the desirable infrastructure.

The more of this that could get put into one comprehensive package, the better the prospect of public support and participation.

Then we could look forward to the day when we hear someone say, “South Boston?” We go down there every year” We wouldn’t miss it. It’s sort of like a miniSpoleto - only better in some respects.”

Paul Steube

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