“Old Town” Artisan Village Cabin GreenSite Address
Intersection at the corner of Adams St & N Broadway St in the “Old Town” Artisan Village, Berea, KentuckyHow will your Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series reflect the essence of the Levitt AMP Grant Awards?
We embrace the abolitionist values of inclusion and equality upon which the city of Berea was founded. The Levitt AMP Berea Music Series will foster an intentional inclusive environment and intergenerational community space, where “all y’all are welcome.” We hope to build on Berea’s reputation for folk arts and crafts and showcase our Central Appalachian region’s rich musical heritage while introducing community members to new instruments and genres. Berea is the place where the banjo meets the keytar and didgeridoo and harmonium; where songs of struggle, resistance, resilience and celebration fill our ears and our souls and bring us to our feet. Home to a liberal arts college, town/gown relations are strained. By engaging Berea College and the City of Berea Tourism as community partners we hope to build bridges and strengthen relationships. Bringing people from all races, backgrounds, income brackets, and faith traditions to the green space in a central area of town, feet in the grass, is a metaphor for the vision we have for a community made sustainable by embracing its diversity. Knowing that music has the power to bring us together, we plan to work with community partners and Berea entrepreneurs to launch a grassroots community relations campaign aimed at fostering community pride, coinciding with the Levitt AMP Berea Music Series. We recognize there is an urgency to create radically egalitarian spaces that invite us to show up as we are.How will your town or city benefit from the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series?
It makes us proud to offer an authentic familial experience to visitors but right now we are having trouble connecting as a community. Wide income disparity, increased heroin use, and low rates of civic engagement as challenges, recently certain issues have polarized our town including: sustainable growth and energy, LGBTQIA rights, and instances of racial intimidation and harassment. The Berea Arts Council values diversity in all of its forms with a mission of inspiring the artist in everyone. Art and specifically music, is seen as a communications bridge between differing worldviews and socio-demographics. The Levitt AMP Berea Music Series would offer an accessible, diverse cultural enrichment opportunity and serve to increase public awareness of and appreciation for the work of musicians as artists, helping Bereans reconnect with our roots, asserting the kinship of all people. We consider this dignified and necessary work. Our goals: ● Provide accessible/inclusive space for building community thereby improving the quality of the dialogue around polarizing community topics. When we meet together with a playful spirit, we are more likely to recognize our humanity during controversy. ● Collaborate with individuals, businesses, grassroots groups and established organizations, engaging all segments of our community for collective positive impact. ● Assist in revitalizing the “Old Town” Artisan Village district: inspiring positive and substantive economic and communityDescribe the site where the free concerts will be held. Explain how the Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series will play a role in enlivening the selected public space and surrounding areas.
The Cabin was built in 1820 and relocated in front of the L&N Depot which was constructed in 1917 and served as Berea’s passenger train stop until the late 1960s. The depot houses Berea’s Welcome Center. The green space is triangular, with one side lined by street, one by the depot parking lot, with no fixed seating. The district is also home to the Berea Arts Council, several shops and working artist studios, a skating rink, city park and the 2 year old Berea Urban Farm. Several neighborhoods and the Berea College campus are within walking distance. A tornado struck the Artisan Village in 1996, damaging a number of artisan shops, spurring an initiative to create The Kentucky Artisan Center. Unfortunately, the Center has negatively impacted the amount of interstate traffic into the Artisan Village. Storefronts have high turnover with many remaining empty for long periods of time. Shops generally close by 5pm and then the area is a virtual ghost town outside of the previously mentioned evening events. Crime rates and drug abuse have increased, with streets in the district sometimes littered with drug paraphernalia and instances of vandalism and vehicle break-ins. With many shop owners close to retirement, Berea is challenged to cultivate a new crop of working artists. We envision the "Old Town" Artisan Village as a thriving hub for art, food, music and community. The Levitt AMP Berea Music Series would play an important role in our revitalization efforts.