Arts Council Seeks Input While CAPS Attempts Cap on Progress
John Bryan, President of the Arts Council, invited local bloggers including GayRVA to a roundtable lunch discussing the Richmond Regional Cultural Action Plan. Val at RVANews wrote a wonderful recap of the meeting. The main point in all of this – the Arts Council (soon to be CultureWorks) wants the community engaged in keeping arts moving forward.
We were also given the challenge to come up with an issue within the arts community to champion. With a show at Rumors being shut down earlier this month and a policing party patrol that seems to be in full force, this seems to be the issue du jour.
Style Weekly’s cover story on the city police department’s Community Assisted Public Safety program tackles this hot button topic. The program started as a way to attack crime at its roots, but has since transitioned from solely targeting drug dens and abandoned buildings to art galleries, shops, and restaurants. They hone in using code violations and fines for unpaid taxes.
CAPS has been using community tools for artistic growth against these businesses.
“We’d like to thank Style magazine,” says Michael Gleason, chief of tax enforcement with the city’s Department of Finance, also a member of the 4th Precinct team, referring to coverage of the local arts and culture community. He also credits the Richmond Times-Dispatch and a variety of alternative publications in the city for providing a convenient directory of potential violators among the arts and music scene.
The group hasn’t only been seeking out violators through print, but also social networking sites like Facebook.
Gleason says that they want to encourage the growth, have more venues, but only want to make sure that businesses are doing this correctly. What are they doing to encourage this? Instead of simply shutting down these businesses or asking them to pay up, CAPS method of enforcement needs to be education-based. Like the health department coaches restaurants on food safety, coach these businesses on what they need to do. Right now, going through the proper channels can be an expensive and slow process. If enforcement is going to be so strict, these establishments need to be given the tools and support to empower them to make changes.
City Councilwoman Reva Trammell also suggests that the city is cracking down as a source of income in a time when finances are already tight.
“I know the city is looking for all the money it can get right now. The city, we’re in a struggle for our life right now.”
The article says Mayor Dwight Jones has a clear desire for vibrant nightlife, but CAPS actions seem to be slowly pulling the plug.
Discussion: There has to be a balance here. What can we do to keep nightlife vibrant while keeping the city safe? What can we do to keep arts moving forward?
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