Tuesday, May 27, 2014

IMAGINING our St Croix's future

My Minnesota has, from time to time, written about the St Croix River Valley, "our" watershed. It's a really interesting and exciting place to be these days, what with The Heritage Initiative doing much to call attention to the valley's past. Now there's a focus this week on the valley's future. On Wednesday evening, May 28 at 7 PM, at the Coffee Talk in Taylors Falls, "our community will envision its ideal future and identify creative tactics to get there..." Building on the past to create a better future is often one of the keys to successful community and economic development. We're looking forward to the success of both efforts. From what we've seen, the arts and culture are playing more and more significant roles in sustainable rural communities. (Check our Other Paths list.) There'll also be a similar meeting at 6 PM Friday, May 30, at Pub 112 in Stillwater, MN.

"Coffee Talk" building at Taylors Falls
"Coffee Talk" at Taylors Falls              © harrington

 These meetings are Imaging the IMAGINING gatherings (make you think John Lennon?). According to Carissa Samaniego, one of only 17 national "Founding Cultural Agents" of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC): "During the Imagining we'll work as a group to discuss what we want our community to look like in the year 2034 and how we can leverage arts and culture to get us there. The ideas, images, and visions generated during this pilot round of Imaginings will be documented and fed back to inform the USDAC's national story and strategy which will be developed into a cultural policy proposal to present in Washington D.C. It's an opportunity for our valley to be a leading example for our nation."

Stillwater on the St. Croix RIver
Stillwater on the St. Croix RIver                        © harrington

Minnesota is, has been, and, I hope, will continue to be a national leader in supporting the arts and integrating the arts into the lives of Minnesotans. This is reflected, in part, by the fact that of the 17 Founding Cultural Agents, two are from Minnesota. Terry Konechne is leading a similar effort in the Minneapolis area. I'm looking forward to seeing a crowd of folks from many age groups and cultures, including Native Americans, participate.

Please join us in Taylors Falls on Wednesday or Stillwater on Friday, and visit the Imaginings page on the USDAC's web site to sign up for the Imagining near you. Together, we can make a difference.

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