Letter: More cultural options would help branding effort

February 9, 2014 

Regarding the Tri-City branding effort. "There are no cultural activities" is the overwhelming sentiment expressed by newcomers to our cities. No food culture, we are addicted to chain restaurants; no art culture; no performing art space or large scale art museums.

In my city of Richland, visitors are greeted on the main drag with weedy pits, which could be replaced with outdoor sculpture, a rundown "Uptown," which could be greatly improved with murals and a facelift. Just see how Toppenish has completely changed its brand by muralling large parts of its city. Buses of tourists travel there to see the art!

It is often said that we have one of the highest concentrations of engineers and Ph.Ds, and the new school models of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math seemed to reflect that.

Simply by adding an "A" for art we could create a more holistic educational experience. Think about what we already are known for -- great weather, outdoor activities and wine. These could only be supplemented by encouraging an artistic community. So much beauty here in this shrub steppe. Let's use our local talent and build a performing venue for large productions. And please, support your locally owned, family run restaurants, wineries and brewers.

DORI LUZZO GILMOUR, Richland

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