Arts a better investment than filling the potholes

newsroom@islandpacket.comJune 13, 2014 

A recent letter writer suggested that fixing potholes was more important than funding the arts and culture. Not true!

Why do local residents think they're "the exception (to) cities unable to fund the arts"? Because world-class performers, directors, and productions choose to come here. The writer should go experience the many fabulous cultural events in this community. He'll find that our magnificent Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra sold out every concert last season, and, to meet ticket demand, will double the number of performances of its nine concerts next season.

The 125-voice Hilton Head Choral Society was virtually sold out for all four of its season concerts. The arts center, the Main Street Theater, the Barbershoppers, the Shorenotes -- all play to appreciative audiences. Residents want more, not less culture.

Why do people move here? A big reason is because we have so many cultural events that they can both participate in and watch. And yes, people do come here specifically for these events, as evidenced by the International Piano Competition with competitors, judges, and an audience from all over the world.

Sure, visitors come here for the beach, golf and biking. But when the sun goes down or it rains, they flock to the events that offer joy and entertainment. And we do all of this without adequate performance venues for any of them.

Smoother roads would be nice, but an investment in top-quality performing arts and culture would have a greater and more enduring return for our town.

Linda J. Neff

Hilton Head Island

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