May 3, 2006

Ahhh, Ahhhhhhts

I don't seem to be reading or hearing much about the Framingham I'm living in these days. The one that I'm enjoying, in the midst of the Spring Into Arts celebration.

This weekend, I took a walk down to Saxonville Center and enjoyed the Saxonville Studios open house. It was fun seeing the artists in their studios, as well as viewing some of the compelling paintings and photographs on display. The artists even thoughtfully had snacks out for visitors. Alas, I didn't - as I'd hoped - fall in love with anything specific that I needed to purchase to give some life to our bare white walls; but it was still fun to browse.

And then tonight, we went to the fusion Latin/Israeli jazz concert downtown at the Civic League to celebrate Israeli Independence Day. There was quite a nice turnout, which proves yet again that people absolutely will patronize events in downtown Framingham -- if there are events worth going to. It was an enjoyable evening listening to some talented musicians, making me thankful that Framingham has been able to enjoy some benefits from being close to Boston's Berklee College of Music. (Victor Mendoza is a Berklee professor; he performed with students from the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Israel who have also been studying at Berklee). There's just nothing like live performances, whether they're music or theater. Enough such live cultural offerings add immeasurably to community quality of life.

As people poured out of the Civic League building after the concert, I couldn't help wishing for a streetscape that would have kept them downtown -- pedestrian-friendly, well lit, with open cafes and restaurants where people could stroll by and stop for coffee and dessert afterwards (well, actually in this case it might not have worked, since dessert was being offered at the Civic League as well. But you get the idea).

However, step by step. If the Amazing Things Arts Center sets up shop downtown (even though I have to say I'd selfishly prefer them to stay in my neighborhood :-) ), we'll see if town planners can help create such a streetscape where businesses will want to invest and nearby residents will want to walk around.

You know, there's a lot more to this town than political bickering.

1 comment:

  1. Just reading this entry made me envision all these happenings in my own hometown. Unfortunately, I also live in a community where downtown shuts down and closes its doors at 6 p.m. -- or earlier. Our historic downtown has so much potential. We've got an art gallery, artist studio spaces, but not nearly enough events to showcase these things. "Market Days" is once a month, and lasts only until 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon.

    It's sad because so many people willing to shop are spending their Saturday afternoons in neighboring cities that have huge malls and retail venues. We need to work on a way to draw our community back home -- and letting people know that downtown is open for business should be number one on everyone's list.