Author Topic: Grand Forks as a cultural center?  (Read 1417 times)

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Offline Sal Atticum

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Grand Forks as a cultural center?
« on: May 06, 2007, 10:35:07 am »
Actually, I think this guy/girl has a lot of good points.  To actually make the changes that need to be made would be really cool.  I think that UND students could lead the way--if we can get enough different kinds of entertainment going on in town, someone is going to realize they can make a lot of money by buying/building some good space for it.

I think that Dakota Roar (now part of this site, Campus Dakota), Culturepulse and the North Dakota Indie Rock Forum are all doing a good job organizing some good entertainment already.  How can we expand this?  What do people think?

This was a comment posted on Grand Forks Life:
Quote from: anonymous
What changes would I like? I actually had to think this one out for a moment. What changes would benefit the residents of Grand Forks, while keeping the better things about the city intact?

I think you nailed it on the head when you stated that GF will not ever be like Fargo. Fargo is at a crossroads for two major interstates, so commerce will ALWAYS be Fargo's strong point. Bismarck is the center of policy and governance. So what can set GF apart from the others?

Culture and the Arts.

Grand Forks cannot beat Fargo in landing big companies, but it sure as hell can take on any city in ND in the Arts. The local governments, municipal and county, should be looking for ways to make GF a destination city not only for Canadians, but for other North Dakotans as well.

We will never be able to draw a national tourism to GF. That is reality. There is nothing to look at. There are no mountains, no major bodies of water, no forests, or any other environmental draws there. So I propose that GF play on it's strengths as a center for culture for the state.

Here are some ideas I have for GF, in no particular order:

#1. Seek funding for an official state aquarium. It would feature native aquatic animals like catfish, walleye, pike, Perch, etc along with more exotic ones like stingrays and sharks. It's just too cold to have a viable outdoor zoo, so I think a large, well designed, modern indoor aquarium would be perfect. The ND Game and Fish Dept. could team up with UND to add classrooms and use the facility to offer course work in marine biology and conservation.

#2 Establish a private cultural advocacy and networking organization, seperate from the ND Council on the Arts, representing the entire state, connecting performing, literary and visual artists and cultural organizations with each other, with local audiences and with visitors, using a new facility as incentive. By establishing this liason between the private and public sectors of the Arts, Grand Forks will position itself as the cultural hub of ND, with communities across the state having contact with GF on a constant basis.

#3. Encourage UND to offer a film major. A number of students attend Moorhead state for their film program. Grand Forks would benefit from a superior film program offered by UND, in the fact that a film program would tap into local arts resources for student projects every semester.

#4. Encourage, through short Tax Abatements, the development of an arts and entertainment district to be established in downtown GF. The North Dakota Ballet is located in the Grand Cities Mall, hardly the place for an arts organization. A Grand Forks arts district would help place organizations like the GGF Community Theatre, the Empire Arts Center, the North Dakota Ballet, and the GGF Symphony Orchestra in the heart of the city along with private entertainment venues like comedy clubs, upscale restaurants and live music venues along the Greenway.

#4. City beautification is key to a cultural center. There needs to be a dialog on whether it would be more beneficial to relocate the airport to the south end of town, or to use eminant domain to forclose on properties along the Gateway corridor who do not adhere to a determined standard. The North End is a wreck. It's time to shine up the area around the city's prized hockey arena. When you put in new furniture in your home, you vacuum the carpet first, right? The same standard should apply to your municipal home as well.

#5. Grand Forks needs to attract new jobs without using cheap labor as a selling point. I believe with a solid cultural base, Grand Forks will be in a better position to attract companies who will need to pay competitive wages to their workers.

I have MANY more ideas on this subject, but I'm sure I've lost most of the readers already with this long rant.


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