Artsy Brattleboro–Good or Bad?
A few days ago I went on to the website of my town’s local newspaper, The Brattleboro Reformer, and found a letter to the editor responding to a recent article in the newspaper–http://www.reformer.com/opinion/ci_15011247. The article the person was criticizing seemed to be about how great of a town Brattleboro is for being artsy/an up-and-coming town for arts and entertainment (p.s. it’s true my town is artsy–a lot of creativity, A LOT of crunchy people). This person was chastising the author of the article for overlooking the negative affects of being an “art town,” things I had never thought of, because I never thought that being artsy was a bad thing. The writer cited things like how such a vision of an artsy town is sustained by financially well-off people and tourism, and does not benefit the middle/lower-middle class (which makes up most of the town). They talked about how if this vision takes over, many people will be priced out of living in town and will have to move to smaller neighboring towns. And now that I think about it, that’s why my family lives in the next town over and not directly in Brattleboro–it’s much less expensive. Basically, the writer leapt to the conclusion that the chic and artsy are going to take over Brattleboro, the well-off will sustain the artsy vision, and it will cease to be a “real town.”
This letter to the editor got me thinking, and so I looked up the original article the person was talking about–http://www.reformer.com/ci_14980131. Yes, the author does talk about how Brattleboro could be on track to becoming a chic, artsy town and could thrive on those qualities. However, that is not the point they’re making. The point was that this vision is possible, but it is also possible that art won’t be able to sustain the town for long. The author even gives specific examples of how this vision did not work out in similar towns in the area. Yes, they ignored some issues like gentrification, but the writer of the letter to the editor took the article the wrong way–and I don’t think they even read the whole thing. But I’m glad I took the time to read both the letter and the article, because it made me think about the future of my town and if being on the artsy track is actually beneficial or not.