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Letters to the Editor

Learn from Michiganders

The [Oct. 12] issue, led off by the tea time interview with Maestro Kirk Trevor, by Jack Neely, was great.

I agree with one conclusion: that Knoxville has too many choices at any given time. I have attended the symphony and the opera when one of my favorites was playing the Laurel Theatre, and I have been conflicted when something was going on in Oak Ridge. I divide the situation into several areas.

In music, we have the Tennessee Theatre for small events, and we have the Bijou for even smaller ones. One can discount the Civic Auditorium as a good venue because of its lousy acoustics. For big events, there is the basketball arena, that has no acoustics at all.

In the theater venue, there is the Clarence Brown, with a still state-of-the-art stage, but it is very small. After that, what is there? There's nothing with a stage that works, nor is there anything with decent acoustics.

In the museum area, the KMA is a great start. The McClung could be a strong player with their magnificent collections, but it sits on campus, and experiences the problems of all university museums, where almost no one will go because of parking problems, strange hours of operation, etc.

If there is a solution, it would not seem to be the Worsham-Watkins plan. In fact, is there a solution?

I believe there are some possibilities. Today, one can build multi-purpose facilities which work. I recently returned from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the UP), where, long ago, I graduated from Michigan Tech, an engineer's university. Some interesting things are happening.

There is a new arts center on campus with the largest auditorium in the state outside of Detroit itself. It is tunable: it can be cut in half for smaller events, and it has an out of this world stage, which can seat 9,000 in its grandest configuration. It can host a symphony or put on a play—all at a campus with a student count of only 6,500.

Knoxville needs an arts center all in one tight location. Perhaps the old world's fair site is it, with the new convention center going up and the KMA already there. As in Indianapolis, or Detroit, or Houston, or Atlanta, or Chattanooga, or Denver, things need to be all in one place, where tourists can reach that "tourist destination" Knoxville dreams of. Otherwise, we will remain a place to pass through on the way to Dollywood or the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Knoxville needs to take the big leap. I believe the money is here to do it.

Richard M. Berry
Lenoir City

Yeah, But Whither is This Whither?

I enjoy reading Jack Neely's features, but the article on where Knoxville architecture is going [Oct. 26] was a waste of good bird-cage liner. I thought I was going to read about the current state of design in Knoxville and the direction some of the designers were heading. Instead I get a history lesson and hear architects expound on the latest "isms" in the design world.

No wonder developers and builders think architects are from an alien world. "Super-decon-traditionalist." I'm sure I could find a building here that fits that description, as far as you know.

The point is Mr. Neely, it would have been much more interesting to read about just where in hell this town is heading, if at all, in the architectural future, or what are the trends in the local design studios (firms), and who are the movers and shakers and hot-shot designers in the Knoxville area and their constant battles to move design in this city forward or....back to the future.

John Wallace

Actually, I Invented Public Education

A person reading Ear to the Ground in the Oct. 5 issue of Metro Pulse may be left with the impression that I do not support public education thanks to the uninformed remarks of my opponent.

For the record, I support public education and not only in word but in deed.

My voting record in Nashville also reflects my support for our children. I have always voted to fully fund the Basic Education Program and various other educational needs.

State Rep. Bill Dunn