Earlier today I posted this on my Facebook page:
Tonight, I received a response on that post that asked this: “What is your vision Jenn?” As with my last response to a Facebook question, I have a little more to say than fits into a Facebook comment box, and I want everyone to have the opportunity to see my response, so I’m posting it here:
First and foremost, I envision the future of the school as a place that is truly for the people, by the people, and of the people. What do the people want? What will most benefit them? How can they make use of the space to improve their lives?
To this end, I think it’s great that Councilman Taylor Graham attended our concerned citizens meeting, recognizing that citizen input is key to determining the best possible usage of that building. I am happy that the city has some sort of plan for focus groups sometime in the future to get citizen feedback.
Regardless of what we decide to do with the elementary school, I firmly believe we need access to the arts for all of our citizens and a stronger commitment to community and cultural programs and services. It is my opinion that the school offers us a unique opportunity as a place that could help us fulfill such a commitment. It’s there. It’s empty. We own it. We need to do something with it. Why not this?
Imagine the school once again alive with the sound of children laughing, playing, learning. And imagine it weren’t just children.
Imagine adults—people of all ages—laughing in the auditorium seats or singing on its stage; drawing, painting, or sculpting in studio classrooms; or browsing halls lined with the work of local & regional artists. Imagine them learning more about Simpsonville’s history during programs like those presented by the Simpsonville Museum of Revolutionary War Museum. Imagine them attending a book reading by a local author.
These are just examples—the specifics of what could and would be offered there would be determined by the people. As I said originally, it would be something that is uniquely Simpsonville—something that encourages community pride for our citizens through arts and culture.
So imagine a place that would enrich all of our lives and our community through a variety of cultural activities, through exposure to the arts, through a shared sense of community. That’s my vision.
And it’s a vision that will yield multiple social and economic benefits to our city. It’s a vision we can accomplish if we’re all working together towards the same goal: one better Simpsonville for all.