Thursday, December 20, 2007

City Planning and the Arts

I ran across a passage about city planning that I enjoyed in "Leave it to Psmith" by P.G. Wodehouse.

"When the great revolution against London's ugliness really starts and yelling hoardes of artistis and architects, maddened beyond endurance, finally take the law into their own hands and rage through the city burning and destroying, Wallingford Street, West Kensington, will surely not escape the torch. Long since it must have been marked down for destruction. For, though it possesses certain merits of a low practical kind, being inexpensive in the matter of rents and handy for the buses and the Underground, it is a peculiarly beastly little street. Situated in the middele of one of those districts where London breaks out into a sort of eczema of red brick, it consists of two parallel rows of semi-detached villas, all exactly alike, each guarded by a ragged evergreen hedge, each with coloured glass of an extremely regrettable nature let into the panels of the front door; and sensitive young impressionists from the artists' colony up Holland Park way may sometimes be seen stumbling through it with hands over their eyes, muttering between clenched teeth'How long? How long?' "

What do you think? What kind of a balance should there be in city planning and the arts? Do cities get back their investment in tourism, and in attracting a skilled labour force to their area? Does a highly skilled labour force stick around in an area where there's no theatre, no ballet or music classes for their children and enriching performances?

I have some good news. The city of Dieppe bought one of my paintings, La Poète . I was talking with Annie Belliveau at City Hall and she says that when the city aquires a piece of art, all of the employees want it for their office. They have to set up a system where people draw for it to make it fair. Who doesn't want to be surrounded by art? The great majority love it.


Juggling Jason said...

interesting discussion. Gotta run right now but I'll come back to it for sure!

Anonymous said...

Hey Merry Christmas to you and juggling man Hope Santa is good to you xox