I have, for better or worse, developed a bit of a reputation for talking about the worst of Albany. It’s not really undeserved either, but I argue that I haven’t had a lot of really great stuff to talk about. That changed at the first Flint Fest on Saturday.
I spent about four and a half hours out there on Saturday and it was an eye-opening experience. You see, I knew about some of the arts in Albany. My family has been involved with Theater Albany and my mother was a founding member of the Albany Symphony Orchestra. I knew about some. However, some of the artists I saw this past weekend simply blew me away.
Leah Ryals, who contributes at Laws-n-Sausages.com, was there with her photography. She had taken a few pictures for the website that were good, but the level of photography she had on display Saturday was something else.
Leah wasn’t alone with her talent, though. In realty, I was in a really bad spot. I had brought my checkbook along and I easily could have spent a couple thousand dollars just on artwork. That’s not an exaggeration, either. It was simply that good.
So what does art have to do with Albany’s future? It’s really pretty simple. If Albany is to ever have a hope of competing with other cities our size, the arts are essential. Like it or not, companies look at the arts as part of their decision making process. A city with a strong arts community, and not just theater and classical music, has the inside edge.
There was talk this past weekend of an artist group downtown. I have some research to do and fully intend to share as much information for the community on this as I possibly can. If artists can seize on downtown as they appear to be doing, then downtown actually can develop into something close to what the city has envisioned all these years.
I’ve dogged downtown for a while, but mostly because of how it was being done and not because of the goal. However, there have been tremendous movements towards downtown’s resurgence. The addition of a thriving artist’s community will only help. At worst, we’ll get a higher level of sophistication in this town. Personally, I can live with that.
Written by Tom Knighton. Tom Knighton is the managing editor of Laws-n-Sausages.com, a political blog focusing on SWGA. He is the former co-owners of SWGAPolitics.com and currently serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia