John T. Davis, May 2011
Topeka is a city of artists
waiting to happen--big time. Most have to rely upon the Internet to market
their work. The consumer demand needs to be several times higher here to
cause local artists to rely upon local sales of their product to lead them
away from the proverbial "starving artist" syndrome. Tourism is
built into the very "scaffolding" of the River Front proposed
track layout and will eventually deliver this kind of annual revenue to
Topeka. Artists will notice the difference. One such target is Historic
North Topeka where a hot bed of artists may be accumulating and those already
estabilshed here, await with their ambitions to become a part of something
big. Steel tracks delivering 100's of thousands of visitors to that area
daily will open up many doors for this theme area. Any effort and monies
invested in that area will be wisely spent. Real estate values on that strip
will eventually skyrocket.
I site three examples of organizations that
fit into the "scaffold" mentioned in my "From The Editor"
section which identifies some magic ingredients as scaffold components,
along with track strategy, zoning codes, and various restrictions. NOTO,
a North Topeka organization is a magic ingredient along with the North Topeka
Business Alliance and TIBA--fitting in with the task of this newspaper (see
"Mission Statement." Streetcars have always raised human living
in any community anywhere in the nation,and climaxing in the period from
the 1890s through the 1940s. (Look at the era that artists prefer to portray.)
Of course they have to--the following period, 1940s through mid 1950s was
he Great Streetcar Scandal and demolition of city transit rail systems nationwide
promoted by GM and certain affiliates and co-conspirators.
This art form and higher standard can and
will be reached again in Topeka. To the term "unified voice",
as referred to by Tara Dimick, TIBA Chair--I say "yes sir'ree
Bob!" That very unified voice must prevail at the voting booth
when its about issues of putting streetcars back in Topeka for tourism reasons.
Voters will need to realize that steel tracks delivering many hundreds of
thousands, and hopefully millions of tourists annually down those tracks--will
have no choice but to be led by fixed tracks by neighborhoods and business
districts. These tracks, properly routed, will empower these aggressive
organizations as mentioned above, and yes, all forms of artists--hopefully
working out of the fanaticized multiple theme area of Historic Downtown
I hope to see many local Topeka artists
gain publicity on these pages dedicated to streetcar art who can envision
the "scaffolding" of the River Front area and create paintings
that will help "imprint" the minds and attitudes of Topekans about
who they are and what Topeka was, and what it can be again.
The term "growth"
was mentioned in a quote on page 18 of the Fall 2010
TK Magazine in the TIBA paragraph. That can be a scary
word to me as I have watched "growth" away
from our most highest art form as the Topeka skyline
and neighborhood scapes have been largely demolished
and part of us has taken on a nebulous form undefinable
for tourism. As former "powers that be" have
hired and paid outrageous sums of money to people from
far away to come here and tell us who we are and what
to do about ourselves, with the term "ourselves"
needing to be defined as well--from these very outsiders!
Bottom line--if the Morrell Meats building can survive
(see home page and click on photo) --that will tell
us what we are and whether we can build our city back
to its highest art form again. We must first stop a
very bad trend before transplanting a better trend in
it's place. Our foundation must be fertile. "Growth"
tore down the old Civic Theatre building in North Topeka--a
masterpiece of a building.
That is what impresses
me about NOTO--artists--if they could do anything about
Topeka's growth, they, being artists, would never advocate
the tearing down old buildings and the core of all of
our history along with it's unique skyline. May these
creative people with above average vision, be able to
see Topeka the way it was and capture our city they
way it can be in the future. (see "Topeka's Streetcar
History" button) May they envision vintage-style
modern street cars delivering passengers to their front
doors. May they literally PAINT Topeka into its future
as they watch the "scaffolding" become "green
as spring" with NEW GROWTH along the alignment.