Taken in Asheville, this picture of the River Arts District was part of why I decided the city was for me. I have visited quite a few 'arts districts' in my time, however this was the first I found that actually seemed to be a hotbed of genuine creativity rather than a gentrified tourist attraction.
My husband and I wandered around thrilled with the lack of order, the spontaneousness. It seemed genuine and exciting. Now I am concerned to hear there are plans to redevelop the area. Whilst I am a big supporter of development, I have so many fears that it will become a twee, sterile exercise and the rents will go up. I have seen this happen so often. When one hears city authorities and the like using phrases like 'clean up' it usually means a sanitised version of the world withouth character or diversity. Think I am being alarmist? Read this article and then tell me. Graffiti Wall in Asheville's River Arts District Declared Off Limits.
East London, Paris's Left Bank - these places were orginally populated with artists, writers and the like because they could afford to live there and pursue their creativity. Then it became fashionable to be seen there and unless you made it big like Damien Hirst, it was time to move on. Of course the haphazard scenic River Arts District may leave people who like more conventional arts and crafts bemused - that's fine, they will find what they need in the Woolworth Arcade. But please, leave the River Arts District for the real artists!