The Small Town Poetry & Cultural Festival Creates Economic Growth and Development

Top Quote The Arts of Community was set to host the 1st Annual Small Town Poetry and Cultural Festival in the city of Arcadia, but after being granted the correct permits that were needed by the city to produce this event (an event that was created to generate economic development and growth in the Hispanic and Black communities of Arcadia), the permit was revoked within 14 business days. End Quote
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL (1888PressRelease) August 14, 2018 - The Art of Community will be hosting the 1st Annual Small Town Poetry and Cultural Festival this upcoming fall in the city of Arcadia, FL. This 3-day family-friendly festival will be full of cultural music, mind-altering poetry, electrifying dance, unique art, and mouth-watering food. Confirmed acts include hip hop artists Ice Billion Berg and Field Mob and spoken word artists Michael J McCain and Byrd. This event was created with the intention of introducing, cultivating, and showcasing the important benefits that are associated with utilizing the arts as a means to revamp and redevelop thriving African American, Caribbean, and Hispanic communities that foster creativity, diversity, and inclusion of economic growth.

    Originally this event was set to take place from July 6 – 8, 2018, however 14 days after of the Arcadia Police Department, the Arcadia City Administer, the DeSoto Sheriff Office, and the Arcadia Fire Department provided the Art of Community organization with an approved city permit, there was an emergency private hearing called by Marshall Anderson of the Arcadia Police Department that was held without notifying the permit holder, the Arts of Community organization, that immediately revoked the original permit, and instead required the organization to pay over $2700 more to secure 5 additional unneeded law-enforcement to the existing agreed upon 10 on-site police officers. This last-minute change was due to the erroneously negative presentation of this event to the City Council by Marshall Anderson that insinuated that this event would unleash a potential “gang-issue” in the city of Arcadia. (Marshall Anderson, after receiving the event proposal, initially recommended that in order for this festival to successfully take place and for the permit to be granted there were to be 8 – 10 police officers that would be on duty).

    For the past year, the Art of Community organization has successfully hosted cultural arts and poetry driven events that brought in hundreds of event attendees. With the creation of this cultural arts festival, the idea is to assist in generating economic development and growth in Arcadia while decreasing the lack of diversity and increasing inclusion between community members.

    “I began producing poetry and cultural arts events in Arcadia with the intention of creating mutually beneficial platforms that were inclusive to the individuals and their surrounding communities. While the Small Towns Need Poetry Too initiative is still in its infancy stage, the progress has consistently surpassed our expectations. Attendance figures for our last event were at 200 plus,” says festival founder, Sarahca Peterson. “Much like Arcadia, there are so many small towns throughout the country with little to no access to the culturally significant arts. We have an opportunity to ensure equal accessibility to the arts as well as economic development through this initiative and festivals whose primary focus is on Black Cultural Tourism.”

    The city of Arcadia, a small city with a little over 7,000 residents based near the center of DeSoto County, FL , is rich in heritage, architecture, agriculture and a mixture of African American, Caribbean, and Hispanic cultures . The birthplace to NFL’s Chris Clemons, MLB’s Bitsy Mott, and the co-founder of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, John Paul Riddle, Arcadia has a rich historic district that is currently listed on the US’s National Register of Historic Places. However there are quite a few shortcomings to this city as well. For example, Arcadia has over 50% of it homes under the homestead tax exemption and currently the high school graduation rate is 60.4%, 20% lower than the state average.

    With these statistics on everyone’s mind, the Art of Community will not stop their effort of making sure the city of Arcadia allows them to host the first ever cultural arts festival that the city has seen, the 1st Annual Cultural Arts & Poetry Festival.

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