Credit The 'Ville Voice for cuing up the following, culled from what are surely the beautifully designed pages of RL Magazine, described as a luxury lifestyle quarterly by its publisher, Ralph Lauren.
Update America: Louisville, Reframed by Kristen Carr Jandoli
Most people’s image of Louisville doesn’t stray far from Churchill Downs’ julep-steeped parade of sleek Thoroughbreds and their blue-blooded, extravagantly hatted owners come Derby Day. But among the city’s younger residents, a foremost source of pride these days is Louisville’s dynamic contemporary-art scene, which some liken to the heyday of New York’s SoHo. With its creative class reaching critical mass, Louisville is poised for national recognition with Museum Plaza, a new 62-story multiuse skyscraper that will serve as an anchor for the city’s art institutions.
Museum Plaza is just the latest example of Louisville’s commitment to expanding its cultural boundaries. “There is a willingness and eagerness to embrace change and seek out a little more sophistication,” says Steve Wilson, a philanthropist, art collector, and real estate impresario who with his wife, Laura Lee Brown, is a major backer of the $500 million project.
Friend and Canadian transplant Jay Jordan, director and curator of the New Center for Contemporary Art on the other Market Street gets into the mix as well:
“People here have something to prove, and there is a real interest in making Louisville a great place for artists to be.” It all started, he says, in the late 1990s, when several galleries popped up on Market Street and young artists began staging group shows in lofts and warehouses.
Did we mention that all this national attention grabbing creative activity is taking place 4.4 miles from here? Why, yes, we did. In 2005.
It would seem, then, that a complementary effort hereabouts just might prove useful. Or, as neighborhood activist Greg Roberts said in the 2005 comments, "I totally agree...Now we have to find a way to market New Albany to people in Louisville. I know several people that would love to move downtown New Albany or to a surrounding neighborhood. I think we need to push harder...and start a unique marketing campaign for New Albany."
Readers will also note that those same comments contain the beginnings of a joint community effort to work toward that goal. The New Albany Historic Home Tour has become an annual success and we're less than a week away from a bona fide housing market study as reported halfway through Daniel Suddeath's City Wrap in the Tribune last week.
Dan Coffey, of course, seeks to demonize the very people who spent more than two years acting on those possibilities for no particular reason other than that their success reflects poorly on his own inability to create positive change with legislative and financial authority and quadruple the amount of time.
When first presented with the study opportunity as a member of the Redevelopment Commission, Coffey said no market study was necessary because he already knew what to do in the neighborhoods. Absent any exposition of that imaginary newfound knowledge, he then resorted to claiming unfairness since his district, which he routinely portrays as in desperate need of help while simultaneously refusing to offer any, wasn't the probable center of study attention. As part of that broadside, he further complained that the study would benefit real estate agents and builders more than residents, saying that he was "tired of advertising for businesses that need to do it themselves".
Aside from the erroneous conclusion that improving neighborhoods doesn't improve resident prospects therein, one has to wonder why he would argue that the study is useless and of no help to his constituents but then immediately demand inclusion. Isn't that akin to advocating that his district be the hub of what he himself described as inequitable, wasted subsidy?
It's pure nonsense but, like so many of Coffey's backward pirouettes, eventually of no significance. When it came time to make a decision after several prattle-filled meetings, he abstained. Luckily, there are three other members of the Redevelopment Commission that actually understood the work and dedication that went into making the study possible and how aiding those traits with professional expertise could benefit the community. Such considerations are apparently lost on Coffey.
However, whether he realizes it or not, the real impetus behind his bitterness is revealed a little more each day. Coffey, who fights modernity like he got a dishonorable discharge from Don Quixote's army because of an eight ball habit, is losing. Power. Influence. Relevance. All of it. The more smart, capable people we attract to New Albany and its civic affairs, the less Coffey has of any of those things. It's arguable that deciding to grant him as little sovereignty as possible is, in itself, a sign of intelligence.
When the maintenance of one's personal sense of worth is dependent on saying "I told you so" in response to failure, it's only failure that produces worth. As proven by my neighbors, though, saying "we should" often leads to "we can". "Did" and "are" soon follow.
It's something that the artists and entrepreneurs in Louisville understand. It's something that more and more people in this community understand. Dan Coffey may abstain from a vote now and again but he can't abstain from the world. And he certainly can't make us. In that, he will fail.
In the general interest of maintaining our lead on the curve, let me be the first to tell him "I told you so".