If only we’d known


From: David Bratt


People who love the arts really have it good here in Winona. You know how nave and impractical we are; well, no sooner is there even a hint of public support for something connected to the arts, but Our Benevolent Leaders swoop down and grab--I mean, they take us by the hand and show us how the money ought to be spent instead.

I mean, can you believe it, here we were thinking that we should explore building a theatre that could spur the growth of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. Who did we think we are? Ashland, Oregon? Cedar City, Utah? Some town with a vision? Thank goodness we have Jerry (Big Daddy) Miller to tell us, "Get real: this is only Winona. What you artsy-types really want is a basketball arena."

Imagine, here we were thinking that as long as we're having Beethovan played by professionals, maybe it ought to be done in a facility acoustically designed for classical music. Doh! Thanks to Eric (Father Knows Best) Sorensen for deciding that what we really need is a big place to hold commencement ceremonies maybe two days a year. (And rock concerts, too, but we'll let that be a surprise for later.)

At least we nave artist types weren't the only ones to be misguided. There was also the Minnesota Legislature, which so foolishly allocated $250,000 for (can you believe it?) study of a theatre! Thanks to B.D. Miller and F.K.B. Sorensen and their hijacking henchmen, we can now look forward to a feasibility report on--wait for it--whether the basketball arena could be changed over to an ice rink. Without destroying the acoustics, of course.

And we can be grateful to Our Leaders for keeping all this a secret. Like Big Daddy Miller said, "We didn't want to say anything. We just wanted to keep everything kind of cool." You know how confused we simple arts-types get when we have too much information: it's for our own good that the grown-ups kept us in the dark.

F.K.B. Sorensen says he hopes the childr--er, the arts types--will stay on the planning committee "to make sure that the fine arts are part of the equation." Exactly so: yesterday, GRSF was the whole point; today, it's "part of the equation"; tomorrow, a footnote.

But we'll have a basketball arena and rock concerts. And that's what we really wanted all the while, if only we'd known.


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