By Mickey Howley
Dale and Bob Tyler seemed unfazed. It was late Friday evening when they strolled in Bozarts and they were just coming from another event. When I asked them about being out and concerns over the forecasted “Ice Apocalypse,” they just gave me a curious shrug with a knowing look. As is if to say “toughen up.”
So while the carriage rides and late shopping and Santa at the Depot and choir concert were all postponed until this coming Friday evening, and rightly so as the forecast was marginal, the gallery openings went on, the food arrived, the band played, folks came out and the galleries were pretty cozy.
Another tough couple who aren’t fazed by the weather are Cecil and Melvin Ford. Last Thursday evening was cold and rainy and windy, but they made their way to Farley Hall at Ole Miss to hear the Integrated Marketing seniors present their capstone project.
What Cecil and Melvin saw were five presentations each by groups of five students. The students did their homework; they learned quite a bit about the Valley and spent a lot of shoe leather walking about. The idea was how to better market Water Valley via media. Media being print, airwaves, on-line, social, and I guess, old-fashioned word of mouth. Get out the word about the upside of living here. The historic homes and businesses, friendly and welcoming folks, fun and creative downtown, and general positive attitude towards life in general one finds here. Now the trick is not to paint too rosy a picture or oversell the place, you’ve got to be honest. But the Valley has advantages. Try and highlight the strong points and don’t hide, but work on the weak ones.
So the Ole Miss IM crew came up with a whole range of ideas. Here are just a few. The high tech one was a Restoration App for smart phones. You’d walk Main Street and point your phone at a building and the app would give you historic images, some history of the building, links to the business inside or info about available space.
They had ideas for new festivals—like a mural festival and a snow festival. Not too sure about that last one given the event postponement last Friday. And ideas for new art events—one group developed a whole plan for a “Behind 100 Doors” event—concept, brochures, schedule, and graphics. Now if they would only come here and sponsor and organize the whole thing. But that’s the creative ideas we asked for and it is certainly worth a real hard look. And part of this was graphics and branding, a bit hard to describe, something you just have to see.
But plans are in the works to bring the IM students and their presentations—even though they are going to graduate this December—to Water Valley in January. It’ll be inside and let’s just hope the weather co-operates.
Coulter Fussell is a co-owner of Yalo Studio, a board member of the WVMSA, a historic home owner, mother of two boys, big supporter of local schools, and the person who will write Street Talk for the next month as a guest writer. I’m concerned about this and my future.
I have written about 250 columns and figure I’m way past having anything interesting to say.