I was a bit perplexed by the newspaper's April 18 editorial opinion that our "small island" cannot support an enhanced arts destination strategy that the paper considers suitable only for a medium-sized city.
Consider Eagle County, Colo. (population 52,000) compared to Beaufort County (population 162,000). Vail has an open-air amphitheater with seating capacity of nearly 2,600, half under cover. It hosts the two-month long Bravo! Vail music festival each summer with almost daily performances by the New York Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony and the Philadelphia Symphony. In addition, there are free Tuesday night Bud Light concerts featuring popular music and dance. The symphonies are followed later in the season by the Vail International Dance Festival.
The Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek is a 535-seat theater with performances during the winter (more than 50 this past season) and during the summer from well-known artists in rock, pop, country, jazz, classical, and opera.
Hilton Head and Vail/Beaver Creek are both renowned resort destinations with millions of visitors each year. We have an ocean; Vail has mountains. Both have an abundance of golf courses and outdoor activities. But Vail has the more effective arts strategy to bolster its economy and quality of life.
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Vail's performing art events and facilities are supported by two non-profits, by the way, not government. Maybe we aren't Carmel, but with broader community vision, perhaps we could be more like Vail.
Hilton Head Island