Committee and community talk arts

By Marissa Novel

Carbondale is no stranger to the arts. Many community members think more can be done to familiarize Carbondale residents and people from other areas with the city’s creative offerings.

The Downtown Advisory Committee had its sixth meeting to discuss arts and entertainment at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Varsity Center for the Arts.

The meeting began with several speakers.


Peter Piermann, president of the Varsity Center for the Arts Board, said the city’s art programs would benefit from working together.

“The coalition would consist of different groups coordinating an effort to showcase the arts and entertainment in Carbondale and the surrounding area,” he said. “It is our belief that much can be accomplished if we work together instead of working individually.”

Trent Stevens, a committee member, said although there are varieties of community events, more can be done to invite people to the area, especially the addition of a family-friendly entertainment venue rather than relying on bars and restaurants for entertainment.

Members of the music community were also present at the meeting.

Curtis Conley, the president of Carbondale Music Coalition, said Carbondale has always been a music town, and is the only decent music location between St. Louis and Nashville, Tenn.

Caylan Hill, the talent buyer and event manager for Hangar 9, said he uses an online ticketing service, Ticketfly, that tracks buyer addresses when they purchase pre-sale tickets.

“Over the last year, we’ve had 20 percent of the people purchasing tickets to events at our place having a Carbondale address,” he said. “That means 80 percent of the people coming to see an event at the Hangar are coming from outside Carbondale which means new money.”


Hill said economic growth is another result the attention Hangar 9’s acts bring from other regions.

Visual art was also discussed.

Marie Bukowski, director for the School of Art and Design, discussed the role of arts in small towns and cities she’s lived in such as Ruston, La. and Pittsburgh.

Bukowski said creating public art installations would be relatively easy, especially because the university offers black and metalsmithing degree programs. She said several students have expressed interest in beautifying the downtown area.

Many community members expressed their interest in new arts and entertainment ideas such as concert series, an interpretive Buckminster Fuller dome downtown, a multi-use year-round farmers market facility and a skate park.

Committee members expressed ideas such as considering food as entertainment, street performers, partnerships with the university and a theatre able to host international films.

The next advisory meeting on economic, civic and neighborhood viability will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Carbondale High School.

Marissa Novel can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @marissanovelDE or at 536-3311 ext. 268.