Best "Con" Artist 

Ellen Dressler Moryl, the Office of Cultural Affairs

July 29

Amid the ongoing venue problem last year came an e-mail from the city's Office of Cultural Affairs about a new arts district being built someplace downtown. The e-mail explained in urgent tones that there would be an amphitheater, concert hall, and theater. Hallelujah! Our prayers have been answered! It's too good to be true! And it was. There was no such arts district. Not yet, anyway. Ellen Dressler Moryl, head of Cultural Affairs, sent the e-mail to shock area artists out of their tunnel-visioned lives to get them to attend a charrette being held by the Ginn Co. The real estate development firm was obliged to listen to community needs regarding its 200-acre development along the Cooper River. The charrette lasted three days. On the first day, no artists showed up. On the second, the place was crawling with artists. That's thanks to Moryl's e-mail. Artists told Ginn about their need for venues, space, and the rest. Ginn Co. had no idea. Now it does. Result: Options for venues, like a 10,000-seat amphitheater, are now on the table. All thanks to a crafty e-mail.


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