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Community culture

Beginning today, the village of Turners Falls will play host for two days to people with energy, enthusiasm and vision of what the arts means for a community.

It’s the Franklin County Creative Economy Summit, a conference that brings together county residents and those from elsewhere who have firsthand knowledge of what the “arts” and all that it entails can mean for a city, town or village, including providing a booster shot to a community’s economic health.

“We’re trying to remind people why it’s so important to have cultural events in a community, for the draw, the vitality, the excitement it provides in any community,” Becky George, who helped organize the event for the Fostering Art and Culture Project, said in Tuesday’s Recorder. George knows what she’s talking about, given her work helping to create the Greenfield version of the Brick + Mortar International Video Art Festival.

“We have to make activity, things for people to do and reasons for people to love where they live,” George said.

We like to think of it as the kind of investment that helps provide a well-rounded package for a community. For Franklin County, the efforts in our individual towns to enrich and entertain via the arts spills over to connect each other as well as prove the spark for people who don’t live here a reason to travel here, one that isn’t tied to happenstance or a pass through on the way to get somewhere else.

And, of course, attending some event means there’s a really good chance that those in attendance will spend their money here, beyond the price of admission. They will probably buy food and other goods and, perhaps, spend the night. And while it may not mean money is pouring in for everyone, it is another block that communities use in building a stronger and healthier future.

But, as George points out, that doesn’t happen without strong relationships between artists, businesses and others in the community.

If you’re interested in finding out more or in attending a session during the conference, you can go to the summit’s website at www.creativeeconomysummit.com.

It’s a significant way to add your energy to the cultural arts in the county.

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