Monday, May 26, 2008

Lowertown Arts & Music Festival - Paducah KY

WOW ... talk about a transformation for an old town area. I was last in Paducah KY, a town on the Ohio river in western Kentucky, about 18 years ago. The waterfront area was in pretty bad shape from what I remember with run down buildings and typical downtown blight. What a pleasant suprise when I went to the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival this past weekend. The entire downtown and riverfront area has undergone a huge transformation. There were all kinds of small restaurants, cafes, art galleries, specialty shops and antique stores. They have revitalized the downtown area without losing the old world look and charm. One of the side streets still has often do you see that these days.

There is a real drive to bring the arts to Paducah as well and the many galleries and art studios present are a testament to this effort. To find out more about this initiative visit the Paducah Artists Relocation Program website. Here is a sampling of the opening text from the "About The Program" page:

"At a time when funding for the arts is constantly being cut, Paducah has established an environment where artists and the arts are flourishing. Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program was started in August of 2000 and is now a national model for using the arts for economic development. The Artist Relocation Program has been awarded the Governors Award in the Arts, the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, The American Planning Association National Planning Award and most recently Kentucky League of Cities Enterprise Cities Award."

If you find yourself in western Kentucky travelling along Interstate 24 from St Louis to Nashville, be sure to take some time and follow the signs to the Lowertown Area and spend some quality relaxing time on the riverfront. You won't regret it.

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