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June 29, 2011

Inbox — June 29, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Art Nourishment
Regarding Peter Berkowitz’s piece on the Louisville Orchestra, “Old music in a new age” (LEO Weekly, June 8): Great article. What was said goes beyond the orchestra. As an audience member, I observe dwindling attendees at many of our performing arts events. Like the article, I believe many venues are not doing enough to get people’s attention. Funding levels and the recession are contributors, but I believe the issue is larger and more frightening. There is a need to better understand our changing world, to be more relevant and to tell the story.

I sense Louisville is losing “passion” for the cultural arts — even though there is much lip service of its importance to the quality of life. Art is a universal right. It needs to be part of the landscape of education. With the cultural arts, there is hope for the future.

I believe transformational funding will come, but only if government and corporate and private donors can sense a return on their investment and are supporting something with “sizzle.” After all, Lady Gaga is about sizzle and marketing. Unlike selling consumer products, it is hard to sense such return on investment for the cultural arts. One measure is getting people to attend. That creates buzz, word-of-mouth, interest and growth for a venue.

Some say we have few performing arts events during the summer. During a casual search I found more than 30 cultural arts performances — plays, operas, musicals, ballets, chamber music concerts. These are different titles, not numbers of performances. Surprising?

Sadly, I think marketing and media coverage is dismal. What little appears is typically the week of — too late for most people to fit it in their schedule. Being frustrated with this dilemma, I started the “Culture Vulture Calendar” service. It’s my one-man attempt at pulling together disparate dates and venues in one user-friendly document for people to keep abreast of events in a timely manner. Published monthly by email, it covers a three-month period in hopes that the performing arts stay a part of people’s diet. Anyone can receive it — just email me a request at jim.culture.vulture@gmail.com. It’s free.
Jim Wilhelm, Downtown

Driving Rights
Boo to Steve Shaw for considering the penalties for failure to maintain auto insurance a negative in the June 15 “What a Week” column. First of all, the current standard penalty for first-time offenders is already a $1,000 fine plus costs and a 90-day jail sentence. This is often reduced to $500 plus probated jail time if a defendant admits guilt. Second, failure to maintain insurance is a serious violation. It can have devastating financial effects on a properly insured motorist if struck by an at-fault driver who is uninsured or under-insured. Driving a car is not a right, it is a privilege. If you can’t afford at least a minimum-coverage auto insurance plan, you shouldn’t drive a car.
Jason Hart Raff, Highlands

Amen
Although one is reluctant to correct the redoubtable George Morrison, there is an error in his June 15 Inbox letter. Reagan was not the first president who did not attend church regularly. President Eisenhower did not. He did not join a church until he became president.

Perhaps to make up for his intermittent church attendance, he signed the statute adding “one nation under God” to the National Anthem. That attendance record may explain why he did not also add “Amen” to the end of the Pledge.
Thomas Wolf, New Albany

Bravo, Council
I’d like to commend our Metro Council, especially council members Tina Ward-Pugh, Jim King and Kelly Downard, for recognizing that GLI is not necessarily worthy of the $1,000,000 that Mayor Fischer suggested they receive in his proposed budget.

GLI enthusiastically supported the Bridges Coalition as it pushed components of the Bridges Project that no one ever wanted, like a downtown bridge, destroying Waterfront Park, and a tunnel beneath the Drumanard estate. Subverting the public has no place in our budget, and I’m pleased to see this kind of courage on our council.
Curtis Morrison, Germantown

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