Sunday, January 5, 2003

The plea for racial healing

Shaping culture in 2003

Cincinnati never has been more racially diverse, with Asian and Hispanic populations booming. But the gap between black and white Cincinnatians seems to be at its widest since the volatile '60s.

Riots, boycotts, demonstrations - it's been a tough couple of years for anyone who cares about this city.

The conflict has left a badly battered downtown. Already facing an economic downturn, the April 2001 riots kept tourists - black and white - from coming to the city. It's the main reason that producer Joe Santangelo canceled the 2002 stadium soul festival. Older ticket buyers, he says, didn't want to risk coming to Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, the recent dangers - real or perceived - linked to a trip downtown are forcing people to rethink their nightlife options.

Add to that the on-again, off-again entertainment boycott. The movement was at its strongest in March, but boycott organizer Amanda Mayes promises to keep up the heat in 2003.

Many high-profile national events are planned for this year.

It's the city's chance to offset years of bad press. We can only hope it does.

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!