The Main Meaning of LAAFF: To support and promote local creative entrepreneurship; to support and protect alternative culture and the culture of Asheville and Lexington Ave in particular; to promote right and responsible relationship with the environment and each other. To foster arts and culture, particularly outdoor cultural programming as a viable economic industry providing opportunities for local artists, performers, merchants, and creative professionals.
LAAFF was created in 2001 for the purpose of celebrating the culture and the renaissance of Lexington Avenue. It was founded mostly by a cooperative of Lexington Avenue Business owners. As long as LAAFF exists, it should support and promote businesses on Lexington who are locally and independently owned and operated. LAAFF believes local economy functions in a sustainable fashion when money is circulated vigorously within a defined community. Founding organizers of LAAFF define the community LAAFF serves as Western North Carolina. Priority is given to the counties immediately surrounding Buncombe, and increasingly to Buncombe County, Asheville City, and Downtown. All relationships entered into in the course of creating and managing the festival are assessed in the above fashion, and should continue to be assessed in such a way as the festival grows. In the case goods and services that are not available locally, exceptions can be made, but should be kept to a bare minimum. A local source for goods and services should not be overlooked in favor of a cheaper non-local source; unless the price difference is of considerable consequence to the health of the festival. In such cases, visual presence of non-local entities should be kept to a minimum level of visibility. It is the goal of LAAFF to support and promote local creative entrepreneurs, and opportunities for their success and education should remain a goal.
LAAFF should uphold the current mission of Arts 2 People (see www.arts2people.org).
Attention should be given in the quality activities and products sold. Products and services should be included are: hand-made, owner-operated, recycled and energy efficient, socially just, inclusive of all audiences, educational and aesthetically inspiring activities and products. Any product or service that cannot be described as all of the above should not be included. Management should seek opportunities to include highly creative and innovative individuals, products and/or services, even if it costs the festival money, except to the point of detriment to the health of the festival, when inclusion adds greatly to visitor enjoyment, education, and creative inspiration to the event.
The visual appearance of the festival should convey a high quality, but hand-made style. Booths, banners, and activities that are overly commercial in their appearance should be avoided. "Overly commercial" is defined for this document as products or services whose visible intention of profit over substance is obvious (i.e. a loveless vibe). Meat should be included tastefully. Food and drink should be consciously served and locally-crafted, and state-fair style commercial junk food should be avoided.
Effort should be maintained for current greening standards, including the use of composting utensils and dishes, and recycling.
LAAFF's other key role is to support, grow, and protect the culture of Lexington Avenue with the hope that as Asheville grows, the culture of Lexington can act as a strong core of values informing that growth. Loosely defined, the culture of Lexington Ave embraces diversity of religion, race, sexuality, creative expression in appearance, the definition of family, political participation. Living as art, expressing to the community their unique internal voice unfiltered by the mass marketed values of the dominant cultural paradigm, within safe and consensual contexts. Products and services expressing this set of values and express unique visions are encouraged. Activities at the festival should inspire participants to experience a creative opening, and be intended to allow them to realize that living as art is a reality available to all.
LAAFF is a vessel which encourages, supports and promotes unique creative vision, and empowers participants to express true perceptions and beauty, with fun, and in a kind and inclusive attitude. At the same time, LAAFF recognizes that while a fundamentalist adherence to economic success is unhealthy, that we live in the midst of a commercial system. Therefore, LAAFF chooses to support the financial success of artists and the arts as much as possible, so as to keep art “in the game.” While being in the game, art has its chance to realign values and inform the culture.