"LowerTown Paducah" documentary in the works


Reporter- Briana Conner
Photographer- Eric Allmann

PADUCAH, Ky.— A local, bright idea is getting national attention. A film maker from Washington, DC, is showcasing Paducah's artist relocation program.

Director Paul Moon says he wants to use the documentary to raise some interesting questions like, "What's the best place for artists to live and work," and "What can small cities do to encourage these types of communities?"

Empty buildings were all that were left when people pushed out of downtown into the suburbs in the 50s. Today, Paducah's LowerTown is back in the spot light as a cultural hub in Middle America for artists. Moon said,  "I was kind of fascinated by the idea of a community of artists that were living in an unexpected place and creating really interesting work."

The city entices artists to invest in the LowerTown area using financial incentives, and then, in turn, the artists bring culture and creativity to renovate the area. "I think an interesting arrangement came up. The unusual part was to say, if an artist invests in a specific part of an area then they'll have more of a stake in making it work," said Moon.

Freda Fairchilds is one of four artists Moon highlights in his documentary. She's a printmaker who moved to LowerTown from Southern California. Fairchilds said, "I had been reading about it and sort of fantasizing about it actually because it formed a picture in my head that was really romantic."

Fairchilds says she likes living in an artist community nested in an unexpected place. "It's a really unique community. It's rather sophisticated for its size," she said.

Moon is using LowerTown artists like Fairchilds and their art to share Paducah's story. He said, "I think  it's kind of a love letter to Paducah. I think it's a way of putting into a feature length package a way of saying positive things about a place I really liked when I visited."

The documentary is set to debut at this year's River's Edge International Film Festival on November 3rd and 4th at 1:00 in the afternoon each day.