Danville Express

Perspective - January 26, 2007

Danville's soul in danger

Dear Editor:

Has anyone besides me noticed the closing of all the art galleries in Danville? Art is the soul of a culture. Apparently Danville no longer has one. The kids call Danville "The Bubble." Has the bubble burst? How can kids today have a counter-culture when there is no culture left to counter?

The town can afford not one but two useless, hideous, information kiosks (one by the library and one by Starbucks) at a cost of $90,000. According to Town Manager Joe Calabrigo, the artists themselves are supposed to raise the funds for a gallery. Well, I have an idea for all of you artists and art lovers out there: Let's sue the town for the cost of just one of those useless, hideous kiosks. That $45,000 will pay the rent for a small gallery for a year and a half.

As an artist growing up in New York, I found artists would go into the low rent slum areas and clean them up. Then restaurants would go in, coffee shops and lofts, etc. It's called gentrification. I guess what we have here in Danville is a kind of reverse gentrification. The art galleries are fleeing Danville and taking their culture with them.

Long live the nouveau riche and the bourgeoisie. Enjoy your Thomas Kinkade posters and your hot summer nights cultural event. (How much does that cost the town in police protection alone?) Maybe a benefactor will step in and save the arts in Danville? After all someone did it for the Devil Mountain Run, another highly cultural event. Where is Carmine DeVivi, Danville's original Father Christmas and cultural icon? Where are the Dean Leshers of the world, now that we need them?

Philip Hellsten, aka Starman, Danville


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