Thursday, September 30, 2010

Artspace, Downtown Gastonia, and Gaston Day

On October 12, 2010, at 7 pm in the Pamela Kimbrell Warlick Visual and Performing Arts Center at Gaston Day, the largest non-profit real estate developer in America, Artspace, will be making a brief presentation and holding a community question-and-answer session, and you are invited. Why is the Artspace visit important and why should you attend? The answer: Artspace is exploring the possibility of a major project in Downtown Gastonia to renovate an old building and convert it to living-working space for artists. Revitalizing Downtown Gastonia has long been a major challenge facing this community. Artspace may be part of the answer. Their projects in other cities across the nation have helped spur urban revitalization and artistic renaissance. When we look at what other communities like Greenville (SC), Asheville (NC), and, closer to home, Rock Hill have done to bring life back to their downtowns, we realize that Gastonia can and should have a similarly exciting, energetic and attractive downtown. That will be good for this city, for this county, and for Gaston Day School. It will mean that our community has a healthier center city with fine restaurants, attractions, and thriving businesses. We already see it beginning to happen downtown. An Artspace project could be a major catalyst for continuing downtown's comeback.

Is it a sure bet that Artspace is going to pick Gastonia for a project? Absolutely not. They must determine that there is a building suitable for renovation, a sufficient population of artists in the area who will move into their building, and secure the necessary funding. Is it a sure bet that they are interested enough to come and visit us?  Absolutely, yes! And the more community support and interest they see here, the more likely they are to pick Gastonia for a project. Are you interested in Downtown Gastonia? Are you interested in the Arts? Are you interested in the livability of Gastonia and Gaston County? Are you interested in attracting newcomers to our community? If the answer to any or all of these is "YES!" please come to the Pamela Kimbrell Warlick Visual and Performing Arts Center on October 12, 2010, at 7 pm and listen to what Artspace has to say. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the Artspace visit. Who knows, it may be the start of something great for Downtown Gastonia.