When I think of Green River, Utah, about the only thing that comes to mind is oh-so many pee breaks taken there on the way to Moab, ---but some community development folk are organizing a summer art and music festival there to raise money for affordable housing in the dusty--but beautiful--little town.
I spoke with Americorps VISTA volunteer and architect Maria Sykes, a co-founder of the Epicenter, a housing resource center. She says that poverty is rampant in Green River but the town has great potential. Exposing myself as a total city slicker, I had to ask, why do people live in Green River in the first place?
"[Green River] has kind of gone through booms and busts. There was a missile base here, it's sort of agriculture-based. It' definitely struggling, but it's in this beautiful part of the country and also is really well-placed. We've got the river, I-70 is right here, the railroad, which have am Amtrak stop here. The town has immense potential, but it's struggling right now."
The Project Green River Festival is aimed at stimulating the economy, Sykes said. They're seeking artists, musicians, film makers and sponsors for the event schedule for June 4 and 5. If you're interested, contact email@example.com .
"Right now we have maybe three or four bands that are signed on and a couple of artists. ... We're going to have a couple galleries on Broadway, a stage. Also, a carnival comes through town every year and we're going to put them on Broadway. ... All these things are in the works."
And, it's for a good cause.
"We want to build houses for impoverished people in Green River and there's a lot of those people here," she said.
For more information, visit www.projectgreenriver.org or watch their super-cool video below.