Incentives for artists:
Now here’s an interesting initative; encourage artists to live and work in a run-down city area. Ok, so we’ve all heard that one before. Artists and creatives as the shock-troops of gentrification, who then get priced out by property developers after a few years. It’s happening now in Handsworth, Birmingham, at the start of that cycle. It’s happening now in Brighton, at the end of that cycle.

But over in the USA, near Boston, they want to entice and keep the creative class and have the gentrification. How about this for a golden handshake… all relocating artists are eligible for incentive downpayments, and “Once an artist has bought a home, the city can also help with grants of up to $5,000 for renovations.” The City makes loans to help buy performance and gallery spaces, too.

Could there be lessons here for Midlands cities like Stoke-on-Trent? Changes at the national level would aid such a process too. Such as three-year tax holidays for new artists. And changes to the welfare-benefit rules, so we’re not forced to take dead-end menial jobs or have the payments stopped; perhaps in exchange for a requirement that the artist give time voluntarily to local/regional creative ‘think-tanks’ which could then be accessed for free by local small businesses and social entrepreneurs?

Fine music:
A report, from Staffordshire Music Net, on the 2002 Staffordshire Music Festival which happened a few weeks ago.

Koan2Flash 0.5:
My Koan-to-Flash prototype has reached alpha version 0.5. It’s still not wonderful, but it’s a lot better than 0.3 was.