Monday, August 07, 2006

Bohemian Nomads

Thomas Barnett recently used a term that resonates with me, "content connector". His readers deliver relevant articles right to his virtual doorstep, providing him with more blog ammunition than he can use. I have one or two readers, who have played the role of content connector, but I usually have to beat the internet bushes for a few ideas. Hitchhikers pick up hitchhikers and bloggers read blogs. Once again, I thank Chris Briem for bringing the site to my attention (passively, of course).

With my meandering introduction out of the way (I can't let an opportunity to make a proper attribution pass me by), I want to visit Paducah, KY. Zach Patton traces an unusual migratory pattern, artists flocking to an urban backwater looking for another gentrification opportunity. The incentive is essentially subsidized home ownership for the creatively inclined. The program proved to be very successful (perhaps too successful), bringing in artists "as far away as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson and New York."

How did these artists find out about the program? That question both vexes and inspires me. Paducah's immigrant windfall should similarly inspire Pittsburgh. But the region will need more than the right magnet. The rub is figuring out a cost effective way to reach the desired demographic.

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