With strip malls and big-box manses gettin' way long in the tooth, bygone architecture is the mod new style. Patrick McCauley, vice-chair of the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, believes local historic districts are what's needed for more vibrant communities.
Faltering English grades don't bode well for a state trying to foster a permanent class of young professionals. Author and teacher extraordinaire Jeff Kass delivers up Knuckleheads for the young men who'd rather work a backhoe than read a book. Jeff, writing program director for the Neutral Zone, also explains how the Ann Arbor Book Festival was revived by partnering with other non-profits.
Justin Fenwick, community manager of the Arts Alliance, defines art as the artwork itself and also the process of starting something. This week Justin gives the shout-out to Creative Hybrids, a local class of artisan entrepreneurs who form collectives or set up an L3C, a type of enterprise combining business and social mission.
Back in 2001 Larry Eiler, CEO of Eiler Communications and director of the Small Business Association of Michigan, wrote an essay comparing our entrepreneurial landscape with Silicon Valley. Needless to say Michigan came up lacking. Boy, what a difference 10 years makes. In this week's guest blog Larry updates his assessment and finds more than a few encouraging trends.
Lots of hands have been raised in the talks about where our feet will go around the Washtenaw County of the future. After 50 town hall meetings, the Transit Master Plan is coming soon. Michael Benham, AATA's special assistant for strategic planning, talks about public input on the plan and the shape of transportation to come.
It has been said that you should write to be understood. Dan
Wickett, executive director and publisher of Dzanc Books, an independent
press and literary advocate, offers up resources
for those tangled in the oft-solitary pursuit of creative writing, and
speaks to how writers impact our economic, social, and cultural issues.
Used to be that all roads led to private autos but now with the Ann Arbor City Council's commitment to a Complete Streets program, roadblocks to alternative transport are buckling. Eli Cooper, Ann Arbor's transportation program manager, writes on how Washtenaw's county's working of more lanes for moto, bike, bus, rail, and foot travel means a road map redesign by 2041.
Banks and offices are the buzz-kill of downtowns. Know why? Urban documentary filmmaker Kirk Westphal, founder of Westphal Associates, gives his view on this and other reasons why folks will do a hard stop and head no further down the block.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers... and we bet he sold 'em at a farmers market. This week Ann Arbor Farmers Market Manager Molly Notarianni digs up the social and economic edge to a market where the personality-to-product ratio is higher than you'll find in any store.
The stage can be a role model for youth struggling to find their voice. Jenny Koppera, a founding director of the CrossTown Theatre Troupe, together with Erin McDonald, director of the theatre, will be writing about the need for youth programming and dialogue in the community.
It's no accident that Governor Snyder's delivery of the State of the State address today coincides with this week's writings by Nancy Short, deputy manager of appointments in the Office of Governor Snyder. Nancy will be discussing how the administration will translate the outcomes of Michigan's Community Conversations into action, as well as distinct new opportunities on the horizon.
When it comes to making progress on building the Ann Arbor Skate Park, fakies (moving backwards, in skating lingo) are not allowed. This week Trevor Staples, chairman of Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, will be dishing on community service.
In a city that packs in crowds nearing 110,000 on football Saturdays, can art eclipse sport? Robb Woulfe, executive director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, a showcase for the performing arts, will write about how a festival's identity strengthens its host community and how it can be an economic catalyst.
Over 2,500 artists each year submit work to the Ann Arbor Film Festival, a venue where the dime turns on provocative indie and experimental fare. Our pow wow pick of the week is the fest's executive director Donald Harrison, who'll be addressing the film industry vs. film as an art, and regional notions of a creativity crisis.
From visions of banana chairs to Compuware's recent hiring of an arts curator, companies are showing their humanistic side via art in the workplace. Art and design entrepreneurs Joy Naylor and Diane Bennett of Distinct Designs,Inc., a corporate interior design and art consultancy, offer up their perspective on local artists and art selection for businesses.