Friday, May 22, 2009

Kentucky Rain Keeps Pourin' Down

It is genuinely hard to predict what the implications might be, but Paducah, Kentucky’s Artist Relocation Program seems to have its heart, and its economics, in the right place. Apart from its slightly disconcerting title, the program provides opportunities for artists to acquire free or low-cost properties that they commit to refurbish. In exchange, they receive, you guessed it, free or low-cost properties.

Artists are of course at the usual epicenter of gentrification. Seeking expansive spaces and low overheads, creative professionals are usually some of the first to pioneer neighborhoods that have been forgotten, urban centers suffering blight, quaint towns that have somehow fallen off the beaten path. So, when Paducah, Kentucky, institutes a program to draw precisely these people, it is evident that some degree of visionary thinking is involved.

What is even more revealing is that eight years after the program began, the City of Paducah is still taking out ads in Art in America, among other publications I can only assume, to continue to promote the project.

I would imagine that, in the current economic climate, if you were a creative professional with a desire to acquire space, and if you had the skills, experience or nous to rehab a space, Paducah might just be the place for you.

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