I love the Fayetteville Museum of Art’s Fayetteville After Five concert series and, as one of the original sponsors, I know the recipe being used to nurture its success. However, this past event which featured the local and talented musical group DL Token and legendary national artists Nantucket fell flat as if someone or something was left out of the “original” recipe.
    Something was left out. Matter of fact, two somethings were left out. Intimacy and a relevant venue. Let me explain. The FMA not actually having a facility at Festival Park strips this event of its personality and excitement. After all, it was created as an “art” venue. Even though it was well attended, the people were spread out over the vast, treeless greenscape making it nearly impossible to socialize and get that traditional contagious “party” feeling.
    {mosimage}Now, concerning lack of relevant venue, consider the following: What would Fourth Friday be without the Arts Council; the Singing Christmas Tree without Snyder Memorial Baptist Church; Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s River Show without the river; or Dickens’ Holiday without downtown Fayetteville? The reality is that without the Museum of Art actually being on site in Festival Park the event falls flat. As wonderful as it is, Festival Park is not the “be all” and “end all” of downtown Fayetteville and Cumberland County entertainment. This was evident with the Dogwood Festival and the International Folk Festival.
    The FMA is the venue and destination point. So what Fayetteville After Five and Festival Park need is a “new” $15 million dollar Fayetteville Museum of Art. This will breathe life and excitement into its grassy knolls and bring relevance and pride to every event held there.
    With no intention of criticizing Councilman Ted Mohn’s position on the park or our municipal leadership and their positions or opinions on where the FMA should be built, I have to ask, why do these civil servants think they know more than the industry experts we hire and pay to do the job? And, to what end? Let’s review some past decisions on building locations our city and county officials passed judgment on:
Crown Coliseum? Wrong place.
J.P. Riddle Stadium? Wrong place.
Cumberland County Jail? Wrong place.
Festival Park Building? Not only is it in the wrong place, it serves as a visible and blatant obstruction to Festival Park.
Parking Deck? Pending with 50/50 change of it being built in the … you guessed it, wrong place. Note: There is a very “right” place but may be too conspicuously correct.
    Festival Park is not a Regency Park of Cary, nor will it ever be. It is what it is. And, it needs the $15 million dollar Fayetteville Museum of Art to secure and anchor its success. Up & Coming Weekly recognizes Festival Park as the newest jewel of our community, and we support it. We also support it as the new home of Fayetteville Museum of Art. This structure will bring meaning, art, culture and vitality to our community and be a very important gateway into the city.
    Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly. Also check us out online. If you have something to say concerning this or any other issues, pro or con, send them to editor@upandcomingweekly.com. We welcome all opinions and points of view. I can be reached at bill@upandcomingweekly.com.

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