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Could Janesville grow a “creative economy”?

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Greg Peck
July 12, 2013

Let me recap for you a recent Saturday morning my wife, Cheryl, and I spent in downtown Janesville. We took our pup, Molly, along for a trip to the farmers market on Main Street. We enjoyed chatting with friends and acquaintances and the music of a busker, and we bought fresh produce. Cheryl even bought a lovely hummingbird sculpture from a local artist who combines glass and metal.

Afterward, we stopped in for our first visit to Raven’s Wish Gallery on West Milwaukee Street and marveled at the works on display from various local artists. We then, by happenstance, ducked in to the new Mantiques store just up the street for a look at the male-oriented antiques and collectibles (Maybe you saw Marcia Nelesen’s story on this new shop in Monday’s Gazette). All in all, it was an enjoyable morning in downtown Janesville.

Is this all part of what two artistic leaders envision as part of Janesville’s “creative economy”? I’d reason it is. Elizabeth Horvath, who leads the Janesville Performing Arts Center, and Yuri Rashkin, head of the United Arts Alliance, hope to develop a strategic vision to move the local arts community forward. The two organizations are teaming up on a series of lectures and workshops to stir the conversation.

Coincidentally to that story about Mantiques, reporter Jim Leute detailed this lecture initiative in Monday’s Gazette, as well.

Does Janesville have what it takes to build this so-called creative economy? Is it an idea worth pursuing? This will be the subject of The Gazette’s editorial Sunday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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