Barsanti: What Role Has the Cultural Community Played in Seattle’s Success?
I suppose what I’m most excited about with the upcoming GPLEX trip is the opportunity to meet and talk to the other GPLEXers! Of course, you don’t have to go to Seattle to do that, but it helps.
James Joyce wrote *Ulysses* - a novel that recreates the city of Dublin in minute detail – from far away in Zurich, Trieste, and Paris. The challenges facing your city, and imaginative solutions to them, are often clearer at a distance. Also, you can’t be dragged into meetings at the last minute.
Which isn’t to say I’m not interested in Seattle! I’m particularly interested in how that city leverages its arts and cultural assets, public and private. In particular, I’m curious about how it uses them to enhance quality of life for all of its residents; how they are built into the city’s “brand” as it is presented to people and businesses they hope to attract; and how, or if, they are a force for building a shared civic identity and cohesion. Philadelphia is very rich in arts and culture (especially history), but struggles with how to maintain those assets and use them to best advantage.
Seattle is associated with innovation, growth, economic health driven by diverse sectors [manufacturing, information, health, etc.], as well as thoughtful engagement with the problems that growth and economic transitions can bring. I’m looking forward to learning more about how the city works as a whole, but especially about the role the cultural community has played in its success.
Michael J. Barsanti is the Director of The Library Company of Philadelphia