Beck Board, Plain Dealer, Bob Stark and CPAC's Tom Schorgl show complete ignorance of Real NEO arts community intelligence

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 07/02/2006 - 04:12.

The Plain Dealer's perverse obsession with puffing and enriching big box developer Robert Stark sunk to new lows last week with the Plain Dealers promotion of the Beck Center of Lakewood moving to suburban nightmare Crocker Stark, in Westlake.
 
 
The problem is not that Stark, the PD and Board of Beck are planning to terminate the value of what many consider an important Lakewood resource - Beck's value can easily be replaced by the more dynamic Cleveland Public Theater and other arts insitutions, so let Lakewood cut its losses and look East.
 
 
And the problem is not that most NEOans and the PD pretend sprawl is good, although it is disgusting that they promote sprawl the same week as sprawl proved so gushingly disastrous for 1,000s of NEO flood victims - the PD already floated over that truth for Stark in hopes of keeping suburban property values from washing completely down the drain and into Lake Eria, along with 8 billion gallons of raw sewage.
 
 
No, the problem is the PD succeeded to corrupt yet another arts institution by roping Community Partnership for Arts and Culture President Tom Schorgl into betraying many really great developers, entrepreneurs and community leaders, in a complete sell-out to no-culture, as he allowed to escape from his mouth and feed into the PD's puffery foolish praise of low-cultural Bob Stark as follow... and yes, Schorlg is really saying this about Crocker Stark... "I don't know of another developer who's talking about culture as a community building block," Schorgl said. "That's the kind of thinking that's going to keep culture vital." YEAH RIGHT, PLEASE.
 
 
Schorgl now owes many people serious apologies, starting with his landlord David Perkowski, developer of the spectacular arts community building block The Tower Press, and the spectacular arts community building block The Hyacinth Lofts, and many other exciting arts-related community building blocks.
 
The Plain Dealer staff well know the Tower Press is a remarkable historic-salvation development based entirely on the economic value of arts and culture - the building towers over the Plain Dealer's anti-urbanism-fortress across the street, and journalists and editors see it from their windows all day long. Even if they are completely ignorant of local art, they must surely wander over from time to time for a coffee or snack at the hip, artist owned Artofino Gallery and Cafe (shown in the pan above during a meeting of filmmakers there).
 
 

      

 

Perhaps the Plain Dealer staff don't know that NEO film genius Robert Banks' studio is next to Artofino, in the Tower Press, along with like a dozen of the area's top artists, who live and work in 20% of the entire complex, at 50% the market rent, under a revolutionary financing arrangement innovative NEO developer Perkowski structured when he saved the landmark building many years ago. Yes, the PD may be ignorant of all this, but Schorgl may not, as the CPAC offices are right down the hall, smack in the heart of the Tower Press arts community building block.
 
And the PD and Schorgl certainly must know Perkowski is also the developer of the amazing Hyacinth Loft complex, in a former Cleveland Municipal School District service complex, that is already helping to anchor a new era for Slavic Village, as Perkowski starts and arts-centric mixed-use development of the old Meyers Dairy complex across the stree from the lofts, and plans development of other outer buildings in the area, all focused around arts and culture. Here, he has set aside space and kept rents reasonable for artists and musicians and plans to offer reasonable space for music and film production and dance in next phases, starting development soon.
 
No, they couldn't be ignorant of all this - they are misleading the public.
 
They are pretending Ari Maron and MRN, LLC didn't consciously choose to make E. 4th into an arts and entertainment development, specifically avoiding the Stark big-box mall model by developing a real urban living and playing neighborhood centered around musical venues like the House of Blues, entertainment facilities like Pickwick and Frolic, and now attracting world-class Lola's Bistro, all intermixed with affordable new economy offices and housing for the discriminating real NEO urbanist.
 
 

 
 
And they are ignoring the reality MRN, LLC is now working with the world's leading arts and cultural institutions and University Circle Incorporated to transform "downtown" University Circle into a cultural community of global importance, bringing much needed mixed use to the core of regional arts where they will blend such global assets as the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Institute of Art with new cultural engines like the Museum of Contemporary Art, movie theaters and other high-culture attractions.
 
They completely disrespect all the decades of work, $100,000,000s and 1,000s of people's hard work that have saved some of America's greatest theaters and combined them with a major hotel, offices and 100s of new housing units that make Playhouse Square a very vibrant community already, and they disregard the further living cultural growth that is occurring in the area as the Euclid Corridor gains momentum, IdeaStream shines brighter, and CSU goes residential.
 
They cause harm to James Levin and associates, developers of the Cleveland Public Theater neighborhood, who are transforming the Gordon Square area and Detroit Avenue wasteland into the most hip arts and culture neighborhood in Cleveland, against great odds and without the benefit of the Plain Dealer and Port Authority paving and paying the way, all while bringing to NEO the most dynamic cultural happening in our history, being Ingenuity Festival... coming to downtown in a few short weeks. Want that in Westlake too? Yeah right!
 
They trivialize the St. Clair Superior Development Corporations outstanding initiative to leverage the finest of arts and culture now over a decade in root at the Hodge School to breath life into one of the most troubled areas of Cleveland - for shame.
 
The slap the face of the Beachland Ballroom developers who made arts and culture core to a Renaissance of the thus transitioning North Collinwood neighborhood.
 
They show contempt for scores of small developers and 100s of conscientious homeowners who have redeveloped Tremont into the arts-walkable community of choice for culture-conscious GenXs and boomers alike.
 
They show foolish ignorance of the Cleveland Heights strategic vision for their community's future centered around arts and culture, and disregard the importance of long-time cultural institutions like Dobama Theater and the Grog Shop.
 
They even overlook the one big-boxer who seems to really be trying to do the right things, Peter Rubin, who has really sparked up historic Shaker Square by focusing on arts and culture there - obviously,  Schorgl and the PD journailists have missed the fact Rubin hosts near weekly international music events all over the square, and that has brought near shut-ins of Moreland Courts and outsiders together in great harmony, as he has brought the Cleveland Museum to the square, and has personally stepped up to lead the Cleveland Opera in very troubled times... and it seems he has reduced ticket prices in the process.
 
No, No, No. The PD, Stark and Schorgl are wrong, but they will not lay waste and ruin upon all these good people and institions detailed above and their fantastic initiatives - the only good developments in NEO in my lifetime. Let Stark have the Beck LeCenter - knowing it is gone will save arts patrons years of wasted donations and patronage there, as we already know to no longer support the institution, so we may let our money show our dedication to all the really great arts and culture building blocks that are the foundations of so many really great neighborhoods - step up and show extra support of all the other great developments listed above and elsewhere in the real NEO community, to show them love and support, as we wave Bye Bye Beck forever.
AttachmentSize
ArtofinoPan850.jpg22 KB
BeachFutureTriPan800.jpg26.07 KB
( categories: )

thanks for having the energy

Norm, I appreciate your taking the time and having the energy to trot this all out. It needs saying again, and again, and again. The best urban redevelopment is and always has been what is grass roots and individually driven. When it gets to the scale of what Ratners, Jacobs, Stark, Schneider, and even Rubin and Rysar want to do, there's a disconnect from the public interest and a reconnect with the interests of those who are paid to move the largest amounts of money, and then move it again, and again. Whereas banks measure the velocity of money on an annual basis, real-estate developers think in quarter centuries.

 

When are people going to figure out that these community-development nonprofits receive funding only if they sell out the public, foreclose the public from the development process, and steer public opinion to favor investment bankers and mavens of redevelopment merchandising? "Seasonal" now means 25 years, not 3 months, but the markups are about the same. The problem with grassroots restoration is that it gets redevelopment for all of us wholesale and preserves a heritage to boot. Our community-development nonprofits are part of the markup; we've been compromised; they've been hijacked.

 

Is this making sense?

A lot of good is happening here

I don't think many people -- me included -- realize how much good development is going on in Cleveland. Your analysis puts it in better perspective. Tower Press, Shaker Square, West 4th, Hyacinth Lofts, Hodge etc. .. they add up and they have much more enduring benefits to the community. If you look at all that + what's to come in University Circle -- Cleveland's not such a bad place to live. We are so used to reading in the PD about how Wolstein is our only hope for the flats, that we need Walmart at Steel Yard Commons, no wonder we are so willing to sell our souls. Maybe the PD is the source of NEO's self esteem problem?

thank you thank you

Norm,
 
  YOU NAILED IT!

    A friend came to brunch today and said he saw Stark interviewed by Dick Feagler with Ari Maron and Chris Ronayne, and that Stark squashed them like bugs in the debate. Stark is reported to have said and I'm paraphrasing from my friend's report, "You guys are pushing the river and the lake as attractions, and they aren't attractive -- they are dirty and smelly and no one wants to go near them." Maybe he should have said, no one can get near them. Maybe he would propose to dump his construction waste directly into the river or add it to the latest dredgefill site. Who knows? Maybe he should get into an 8 and row with the Western Reserve Rowing Association's Summer Rowing League. That would get him near the river!

    CPAC with an $800,000 org (here's their 2004 990 from Guidestar) http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2004/341/936/2004-341936190-1-9.pd... should be driving downtown development in my humble opinion. (Have you talked with Schorgl about your media center idea?) And certainly since most of the arts connections in Northeast Ohio are affiliated in one way or another with University Circle institutions, he must be nuts not to advocate Beck moving closer to our regional downtown rather than farther away.

Beck Center is in a walkable, transit accessible area; why oh why would they want to move to a drive-to-it destination? Even in town theaters (CPH, Playhouse Square) struggle as drive-to-it destination attractions.

    If Beck Center (and much of their programming seems to indicate this) is cultivating a lifestyle center crowd, then Crocker Park is the place for them, but CPT will have to expand further to accommodate the influx of traffic that will happen at their theater if controversial plays are no longer a part of Beck's programming. Much of the traffic CPT sees or at least used to see drives across the Main Avenue Bridge to attend from the arts entrenched eastside. If people in Westlake want to drive their Hummers to Crocker Park to see restagings of old Broadway favorites, then so be it. Cleveland Artists Foundation might need a more centrally located spot. I just can't see Busta driving out to Crocker Park to hang a show, but maybe I'm dreaming, and we should all be looking for funds to move to a McMansion near asphaltland. I'm going to have to spend my retirement to get a car good enough to park there...

    I walk these days to the Cedar Lee. After years of working in the arts community here, I prefer the anonymity of the darkened theater on slow nights.

Wow, real live tale of two cultures... and the arts

Thanks for expanding on this. I didn't see the Feagler show but heard about it from Ari Maron.  We need to compile very clear documentation of all of the interviews and articles around the issues of sprawl and corruption wherever it is found. I'm working on documenting the current reality with photos and such - all the Wolsten Kmart ecoprints and such... we should all track down any other documentation... like it's totally awesome to see the CPAC tax return... and, not to be crass, I can't believe what Schorgl is paid... I've never dreamed of making anything like that... yow.

I did meet with Schorgl once about what we are doing with realneo, and my dreams for the Mayshow, and he didn't get any of that. I also asked CPAC to provide struggling artists with scholarships to their entrepreneurship programs and they said they thought artists should pay to play, at which point I completely wrote off the organization as anti-artist... and now, looking at how little income they have from education programs (less than 1% of funding) I see no excuse for them witholding educational programs to artists over pay, as that is just an insignificant line item on their financials. They seem just to exist to pass a vote in attempt to tax citizens to support large arts organizations, to replace declining funding from foundations and large donors who no longer support NEO arts and culture, as demand from more organizations seeking support "regionally" is rising...sprawl has not only out-migrated the regional wealth - in most cases way-out-migrated the wealth to other states - but now each little 'burbilly community wants to have their own "Becks" or chagrining Little Theaters, even as the real core private funding sources we once had have been lost in our regional decline.

Just to put all this in clearer focus for the future, as a forewarning to any arts and cultural institutions foolish enough to follow Crocker Stark's sucking into the burbs, consider from the "Shaker Life" magazine to residents there, published by the inner-burb of Shaker to puff up public perception it is a "garden community"... from an article on New Urbanism in Shaker and Robert Stark (who Shaker foolishly chose to develop the old OfficeMax wasteland and Blue Line terminus area at Chagrin, Van Aken and Warrensville)...


Stark Points out that while suburban sprawl "has been the vogue of the last 50 years," its time is over. He points out that sprawl has created a "warehouse" effect: Offices are warehoused in ofice parks, retail stores are warehoused in malls, homes are warehoused in residential developments.

In fact, the paradigm of the office park is very vulnerable right now from a competitive standpoint," Stark says. "Inner-ring suburbs are becoming more attractive to companies than suburban office parks."

More on this to post later today, but this is the core of the story of all the bullshit going down with the big-box boys trying to steal our urban core in the name of regionalism - they know their flawed 'burbilly game is up, and they have played out the swamp land in their portfolios nd don't want more - they made their money selling their swampland, in the process really screwing up the regional ecology and destroying the urban core to make it as low cost and valueless as possible, using the media to create the "quiet crisis" foolishness, so they can come in as heroes to be the "only alternatives" for the crippled core, so passive, unenlightened and unthinking people will be foolish enough to let the sprawlmongers now take over the core, before the 'burbillies realize they bought swampland in the boondocks.

The flooding on the East Coast took attention away from the flooding here, this time, but being many years into this ecological sprawl disaster the sprawlmongers' game is clearly up... we just need to keep the Carneys at bay a little longer for the entire regional community to realize the harm sprawl has caused and start filing lawsuits against the developers and their 'burbilly community leaders who sold their citizens out - once the court doors open, the other doors of opportunity will be shut on all the sprawlmonger forever.

So, don't bother watching what's happening in the core right now, as that is all up in the air - watch bankruptcy rates and ecological emergencies and failing businesses and empty parking lots and malls in the 'burbs for the indicators of the realignment of our economy for the next few years... even top sprawlmonger Stark acknowledges their 'burbilly game is up... it just hasn't been reported anywhere else but realneo yet. That will change - I'm sure of that.

Disrupt IT

I forgot to give thanks to Busta and Little Italy

Thanks for mentioning Busta, as no mention of regional arts and culture as a building block for community development is complete without giving huge props to wild William Busta and his role transforming Little Italy into a long term hub of local arts, long articulated in the great galleries and shops in the old school house and on the streets throughout the neighborhood. I remember when I first moved back to Cleveland 12 years ago it was Busta's gallery that made me feel most in a real arts community, like I had found in New Orleans where I'd live before - great local arts mixed with live music and good vibes spilling out into the street, now best done at 1300... which makes sense as Busta helped promote 1300 main-man Derek Hess into the "mainstream"... I bought several Hess prints there, and was so sad to see Busta close the gallery. But I've enjoyed many art walks in Little Italy since, where I've seen many friends in the arts, and this Mother's Day I needed to go no further than three great spaces in Little Italy to buy everything I needed to thrill a very discriminating art-loving mother. So, that's a good 20 years of making Little Italy far better through the arts than it ever could be without, from within... and I doubt in all that time Stark has ever really even walked those streets, or supported those arts entrepreneurs. Stark... show us your art!

Disrupt IT

"We have invested in organizations in the core city"

I was pleased to get the following nice thoughts and further insight from the Free Times related to this Beck's Center posting, from a friend in the media. This is certainly a much more informative and well thought out and researched article than in the PD, which seems to have rewritten the Free Times article and blended in quotes that serve PD interests. After reading the Free Times posting, I am more sympatheric to the Beck, better appreciate the value to Lakewood, and conclude the problem may largey be this Unger guy.

 

Most insightful is a quote from the Gund Foundation:

"At the bottom of this fundamentally is the issue of sprawl," says George Gund Foundation Arts program officer Deena Epstein, talking about the situation.

"We have invested in organizations in the core city and the inner ring," she continued. "We can't afford to replicate those farther out in the suburbs, nor should we."

Hey Norm . . . just wanted to bring this story to your attention because it includes the following:

They have to decide whether their volunteer role as guardians of a regionally important arts, education and cultural-outreach operation requires them to be complicit in the poaching of one city's asset by an ambitious developer whose stated interests include manufacturing the vibrant feel of a real city in the shopping center he built just a few years ago in Westlake, a place he crafted in careful imitation of walkable, streetcar-era, mixed-use shopping districts – just like Lakewood.

...and also to say that the Free Times had this two days before the PD (City Chatter June 21), and before Beck sent its press release. Keep up the good work, and thanks for recognizing this story for what it is.

Art-migration: Beck Debates Whether To Follow Or Fight Sprawl

By Michael Gill mgill [at] freetimes [dot] com

LIES AND LEGENDS Beck reprises the musical revue through July 23.

On Friday night, Beck Center buzzed with most of the elements that complicate life for the staff and trustees of the largest arts institution west of the Cuyahoga.

The opening of the Harry Chapin musical review Lies and Legends filled the Karl Mackey auditorium with a nostalgic poetry of compromised lives, dreams put off, and love hanging suspended, or lost. The house was a little better than half full, which is just about how it usually goes on opening night, even if the company offers top-notch performances of radio hits from the '70s, like "Cat's in the Cradle" and "Taxi."

Meanwhile, down the hall, the much smaller studio theater was sold out with a local premiere, the coming-out-of-the-closet story of an Irishman.

The rain had let up, so they didn't have to worry so much about roof leaks.

And then there was the news that the organization faces a decision that could change its fate and the personality of two cities.

According to board president Fred Unger, it was January or February when something inspired shopping center developer Bob Stark to re-visit an old idea: to ask whether Beck Center might be interested in moving from its Lakewood home of 75 years to Westlake, specifically to some land he owns near Crocker Park, which he built.

Gossip in town has it that he'll help build them a new building and maybe even pay off their debts. Beck has been through hard times, including layoffs and 15 percent pay cuts two years ago, and scaling back its prodigiously busy theater season from 11 shows to nine. So following the money might offer financial stability that the center hasn't known in decades. On the other hand, moving on out would change the center's identity and could alienate a substantial portion of the audience, including, potentially, some of the major foundations.

Whatever the gossip, Unger won't discuss details of the proposal, which he says haven't been hammered out yet anyway. Stark's communications office was unable to arrange an interview in time for comment.

It was a fortuitous time for Stark to make the query, because, Unger says, the trustees were already in the midst of redevelopment talks. A planning retreat in spring 2005 led them to the conclusion that the aging complex did not serve them well. Utility bills are sky-high. The space is inefficiently arranged. One theater has too many seats, the other too few. Neither has an orchestra pit or fly space to raise and lower scenery. And the roof leaks.

So, Unger says, the board was already discussing whether to redevelop the campus. A press release says the center wants to be "part of a neighborhood of retail shopping, residential living and other commercial activity," which describes both Crocker Park and the center's current Detroit Road location — especially if one developer's vision came true.

Developer Cecil Yates consulted with previous Executive Director Liz Horrigan on a plan he felt would solve Beck Center's building problems and help financially as well. He'd extend a street into the front of the campus and line Detroit with new retail and restaurants. He says they "went so far as to talk with a specialty grocery store." Selling the Detroit Avenue frontage would pay for the construction of a new, more efficient theater and education building where the parking lots are now.

Unger says his preference would be to give the property to a developer as part of a contract that would include building new facilities according to specifications, and lease it all back to them for maybe a dollar a year. They figure the property — five acres in western Lakewood — to be a bargaining chip worth $6 million. In return, the developer would get to build as he saw fit on the remainder of the property. Beck Center would serve as the anchor tenant, with drawing power that already brings thousands of people from all over the region to Lakewood. These are the ideas that came first.

But then along came Stark, a poet and painter in his spare time, dangling a piece of shiny new Westlake as a carrot, burdening them with a very heavy decision: whether the responsible stewardship of a perennially cash-strapped organization requires the trustees to accept his (thus far vaguely stated) offer, or whether it would be better for the continuity of the organization's brand to redevelop in the community it has called home for 75 years.

They have to decide whether they will commit Beck Center to the same pattern of out-migration that has dismembered Cleveland and is now at work on Lakewood and other inner-ring suburbs.

They have to decide whether their volunteer role as guardians of a regionally important arts, education and cultural-outreach operation requires them to be complicit in the poaching of one city's asset by an ambitious developer whose stated interests include manufacturing the vibrant feel of a real city in the shopping center he built just a few years ago in Westlake, a place he crafted in careful imitation of walkable, streetcar-era, mixed-use shopping districts — just like Lakewood.

"At the bottom of this fundamentally is the issue of sprawl," says George Gund Foundation Arts program officer Deena Epstein, talking about the situation.

"We have invested in organizations in the core city and the inner ring," she continued. "We can't afford to replicate those farther out in the suburbs, nor should we."

"At the bottom of this fundamentally is the issue of sprawl," says George Gund Foundation Arts program officer Deena Epstein, talking about the situation.

"We have invested in organizations in the core city and the inner ring," she continued. "We can't afford to replicate those farther out in the suburbs, nor should we."

"At the bottom of this fundamentally is the issue of sprawl," says George Gund Foundation Arts program officer Deena Epstein, talking about the situation.

"We have invested in organizations in the core city and the inner ring," she continued. "We can't afford to replicate those farther out in the suburbs, nor should we."

Prior to any talk of moving to Westlake, the Cleveland Foundation awarded Beck Center $200,000 to help regroup after financial challenges. Of the impact of possibly moving to Westlake, arts program officer Kathleen Cerveny said, "One would hope that there would be a look taken at how their demographic might change, and how support for the organization might change under that scenario."

As Epstein says, the prospect of moving near a shopping center in a more distant suburb raises "a lot of questions, and not all of them are financial."

The answers to many of those questions don't exist yet. Unger said in an interview Thursday that the center plans to retain consultants to study the economic impact the organization has, evaluate the arts market in both cities, and frame the argument for a fundraising campaign for either scenario.

According to in-house statistics, Beck draws almost half its theater patrons and arts students from suburbs west of Lakewood. Lakewood itself provides 24 percent of the theater patrons and 28 percent of the students. Westlake brings just 10 and 12 percent, respectively. A new building in either location would likely boost those numbers, but which would do so more is anyone's guess. The center is closer to more people in its Lakewood location, but the people in Westlake have more money.

Moving Beck Center to Crocker Park is not a new idea. Former Executive Director Bill Beckenbach says Stark made the same proposal back in 2001. At that time, though, the state had just invested $500,000 to help build music studios. Beckenbach says Crocker Park was a pipe dream at the time, and he just didn't think it would make financial sense.

Neither is it the first time a wealthy amateur artist approached the Lakewood organization with an offer that could dramatically change its future. Founded in 1932, the organization formerly known as Lakewood Little Theater got its name, main building and comprehensive vision in the mid-'70s from Kenneth C. Beck, a graphic designer and amateur painter of boating scenes who made a small fortune in the stock market. When Beck wanted a place to exhibit his paintings after his death, the city steered him toward Lakewood Little Theater. A massive fundraising campaign matched his eventual gift and the building went up.

Thirty years later, theater is just a part of the center's activity. More than 7,000 students take arts classes each year and bring in most of the center's money. About 22,000 people participate in outreach programs, especially in the inner city, which is the center's major appeal to foundations.

But it's always been a challenge to fill it to pay the bills on the convoluted assemblage of aging brick. Trustees say the city hasn't helped much, noting that Beck has never been a municipal budget line item. Lakewood Assistant Planning Director Dryck Bennett says, "The city has long worked with Beck Center in a proactive fashion." He says the city's contribution has been to allow the center to defer mortgage payments on the Armory, which Beck purchased from the city.

"Obviously Beck Center is a priority," he said.

Westlake Planning Director Robert Parry says that city has had no conversation with Beck Center trustees about the idea, but that Stark has discussed it as a way to fulfill his obligation to donate some land near Crocker Park for civic use. Meanwhile, a Westlake citizens committee has formed to explore creating a new arts organization there, independent of Stark's plans.

Unger repeated to the Free Times that "we will see who really cares about Beck Center," apparently implying that money will talk as he and his colleagues on the board consider which city will be its future home.

City Council President Bob Seelie says the city "will work with Beck Center much as they can," but that Lakewood "can't offer the moon."

Even if money is tight in Lakewood, residents have proven willing and able to fund major projects, including reconstruction of all the city's public schools, an addition to the library and a new YMCA.

Councilman Kevin Butler, whose ward includes Beck Center, says he'd want some assurance that Beck would stay in Lakewood before the city committed any money to maintenance or improvements.

Councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan has a question for Bob Stark: "If you love Lakewood so much that you built Crocker Park to look like it, why don't you just move here?"

How to keep arts from sprawling

Having visited the Beck Center for the Masumi Hayashi memorial, I found a nice facility that is poorly managed. Now that the PD is leading the campaign to move the Beck further west to Westlake and that is what the Beck board wants then they will probably get it (won't be the first Board in NEO to kill a good core asset here... look at Case). But, in the interest of having the Beck near my neighborhood as long as possible (and enjoying it while it is here) I have chosen to support operations at the current location as much as possible. But, I do wonder if there are enough core arts supporters in NEO left to support the Beck in its current location... do any REALNEO readers really care and support the Beck, for example.

Is Beck fiasco regional punishment of Lakewood?

My response to the Beck board wanting to leave Lakewood is to give Beck money to stay - my son starts his first class at the Beck tomorrow. Everyone else who wants to see core cultural assets in the inner core should go to the Beck website and sign up for a class or show... show them the money.

As I've thought more about this issue (along with the nearly 500 people who have visited this posting) it dawned on me that this whole Beck Blight fiasco smells of the powers that be for sprawl punishing Lakewood citizens for going against their blighted wishes for eminent domain to take over a Lakewood neighborhood for redevelopment - if the people of Lakewood won't get with the plan, we'll just destroy their entire community, one asset at a time. Where are the regionalist kum bai ahs when they are needed to protect the vitality of the regional arts and culture economy of today... singing praises for high end boutiques in Legacy Village, semi-pro ice rinks in the Crock, the job relocations to outer Shaker... praising sprawl.

Disrupt IT

Beck puts nightmare on hold

What a day for citizens of the NEO urban core. On the same day ODOT announced they are putting their innerbelt nightmare to rest, the Beck Board announces they have seen the light and will not move to Westlake but rather stay in Lakewood. More details on this are to come but these are two great steps toward building a more functional and attractive region.

Disrupt IT