Sunday, January 5, 2003

The brain drain

Shaping culture in 2003

Every year, Cincinnati talent-spotters mourn as the latest flock of creative young artists departs for more fertile creative ground.

While new opportunities crop up almost daily for shoestring productions and do-it-yourself start-ups, paying jobs in the arts - with the limited exception of music - are in painfully short supply in Cincinnati.

Aspiring actors, dancers, filmmakers, painters and playwrights - even those who would prefer to stay - move to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and other cities where they stand a better chance of making a living.

The loss of rising artists parallels Ohio's continuing loss of other young professionals, such as scientists and engineers, who make up a hefty portion of the audience for local arts.

Though the pattern will surely continue in 2003, the issue has worked its way into the public agenda, triggered in part by a provocative speech by Richard Florida, a professor of economic development at Carnegie Mellon University and author of The Rise of the Creative Class.

His theory that creativity is a driving force in economic growth and that a climate favorable to the arts is indispensable to a healthy economic environment had at least one concrete result: It promoted City Council members to support September's first MidPoint Music Festival, which showcased scores of bands at a dozen venues in Cincinnati, Newport and Covington.

25 forces that will shape culture in 2003
1. The big economic squeeze
2. Clear Channel's dominance
3. Suburbanites: Will they roam?
4. The plea for racial healing
5. The media's message
6. A whole new ball game
7. Edgy art center opening
8. Tall Stacks rolls back
9. Will tourists go home happy?
10. How Fine Arts Fund carries clout
11. You can't fight City Hall
12. Laura Long: Downtown force
13. The CSO's growing empire
14. Rosenthals' big impact
15. Northern Kentucky development
16. Museum Center's main man
17. Lobbyist Weiland
18. UC at crossroads
19. The Nederlanders make a comeback
20. MidPoint: Rebuild the city on rock 'n' roll
21. The Schuster Center alternative
22. Another public art project goes to bat
23. The brain drain
24. Local film community gains focus
25. Dancing around visa problems
The wild card of 2003: War
2003 dates to keep in mind

DEMALINE: The arts
KENDRICK: Alive & Well
Get to it!