Greensboro, N.C. - With a new performing arts center becoming a reality and the 17-Days arts festival under way right now, you might say a cultural tide is turning in Greensboro.
Saturday, City Council Member T. Dianne Bellamy Small performed at the Greensboro Historical Museum. Grammy Award Winning Artist Kathy Mattea attracted a crowd at the Carolina Theater. And, many people gathered at other local venues around town to celebrate the arts.
"The arts and all the fun and entertainment of a downtown, I think, really captures dreams for people. It allows people to escape. To me, that's what's happening. People are finally catching on that, after 5 o'clock, I need to do something to have fun," Carolina Theater President Keith Holliday said.
For years, art and music programs have faced cuts in the Triad and all over the country. Now, community leaders realize embracing the arts pays off.
"If we can create the arts as a real niche for our community, it's going to have real consequences in terms of our ability to draw and to retain people who live here who can help us draw the employers back to Greensboro," Tom Philion, CEO Arts Greensboro, said.
Holliday added, "At any time, thousands, tens of thousands, will drive into Greensboro to eat and play and be entertained. That's just pure money. Pure money that helps us all from an economic impact."
The new performing arts center will further solidify Greensboro as a "City of the Arts."
"I think we all need to be able to celebrate that kind of quality where you don't have to get in the car and drive an hour to Durham or an hour and a half to Charlotte to see this kind of talent," Holliday said.