America's Search for a Cultural Center Essays

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America's Search for a Cultural Center

The average American child can not even comprehend what institutions provide cultural enhancement. Is that too bold a statement? I don't think so. Primarily because American culture probably doesn't exist in any real form. The closest we get to art is in our cinema. Art as a practiced form is lost. Literacy rates are abominable, museums are underfunded in response to the lack of public interest in viewing their wares, and art classes are practically non-existent as more and more schools have cut those programs in response to budgetary concerns. Art is a learned appreciation. And we are not teaching it. But good cinema can incite conversation, can entertain, and can act as an artistic base for
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The bifurcation was reinforced by a corresponding appropriation of different parts of the city." San Jose's redevelopment agency has faced the same prospects in their attempts to create a beautiful downtown area that would attract the business community. But even as they put up buildings for high tech companies on newly appropriated redevelopment turf the dickering continues over what to do with the lingering abandoned landmarks. Culture and business are often at the core of any downtown. Rich cultural venues, like theater, cinema, and art galleries attract those people who would be patrons. But the proximity of business anchors them to the area. And that is one of the functions the Camera Cinema's initially provided to a struggling downtown San Jose.

In the early years of redevelopment, the downtown had no soul. Any draw it did have amidst the closed shops and construction came from the enterprising theaters that brought variety to the cultural film life of the growing community. Even today with all the success Frank Taylor's agency can claim many of the area's small businesses, the shops and boutiques that bring charm and character, are boarded up, awaiting new occupants San Jose is struggling to find. Facing these problems city leaders decided a commercial theater could attract people to the downtown area, where they might enjoy the city's nightlife and return to visit its shops. The people knew better, they
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