A couple of local conversation starters:
The Madison Area Arts Council somehow finagles space on the Lake Area Improvement Corporation website to talk about the arts as economic development. Is this a sign the LAIC is ready to open its ears to creative economic development? Or is this just more window dressing from an economic development corporation determined to maintain the status quo and tell artists (as the moneyed powers behind the ill-designed Dakota Prairie Playhouse did) that "We don't need your kind"?
Of course, the LAIC article, part of its all-new all-digital communications, doesn't include a comment section for the public. The LAIC should take a cue from the South Dakota State Extension Service, which is hosting community conversations in 80 towns around North and South Dakota throughout November.
The nearest Projects and Possibilities session will take place the Howard 4-H Building on Wednesday, November 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Three hours is a hefty conversation... and a tough block of time to schedule. Middle of the day is a tough time to catch working folks; the crowd will likely skew older. Let's hope Howard High School lets students out to participate in this conversation as a civics field trip.
Community participants will upload their notes on their meetings to the Citizing website for more public discussion. Notes from the Aberdeen and Redfield meetings are already online. If you can't make a meeting in your town, you can take the project survey online... but just as you would if you went to a meeting, you have to put your name to your words and sign in via a valid Facebook account. The Extension Service agrees with me: nymity promotes better civil discourse.
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