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Art Transforms 'Sleepy, Stagnant, Rural' Town

It started about 16 years ago with the opening of an independent book store and cafe on a downtown street corner. That started Downtown Dixon's transformation into the worlds of art and culture.

Not only has sleepy, stagnant, rural small-town Dixon burst out with art venues and events for people to see, watch and hear, but businesses also are making the art scene one of engagement.


There have been painting classes at the downtown Tipsy's Martini Bar and art classes at Roxie's hip little corner gift shop.  Other businesses have had poetry slams or have had artists in their store for shoppers to watch.

A little over 10 years ago, the downtown welcomed its first art gallery. Now, there are art exhibits at bars, restaurants and salons. And the Northwest Territory Museum has a sizable art exhibit.

The performing arts have totally blossomed. There's now a school for performing arts downtown. Live music frequently at the Rosbrook Music Studio. At the large outdoor theatre on the riverfront, and Dixon Stage Left Performing Arts Lounge. Plus, several independent businesses carrying art exhibits, poetry slams, and live music. Last year, Foolery Comedy Improv started in the Rosbrook Studio. A visual art co-op is in its infancy.

Recently, "The Bridge Of Art" moved into Dixon to create artistic window displays for downtown businesses. There has been an incredible increase in high-end restaurants. Fifteen years ago, Downtown had a diner and a pizza joint; today there are 12 restaurants.

Finally, there has been an expansion of art and music festivals, many held at the riverfront's outdoor theatre. In the past three years Downtown Dixon has shaken to the music of Mumford & Sons, Spin Doctors, and Lyle Grobe. Dixon puts on eight art and music festivals a year.

The change has been really powerful and unbelievable.  Currently, a new bar is under construction at the Dixon Stage Left Theatre. When finished, it will have people believing they've just walked into a planetarium. Many in the Dixon art community believe "the best is yet to come!"

I'm Phillip LeFevre, and that's my perspective.

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