"In this riverfront town in western Kentucky, art isn’t just a luxury. It’s a lifeline.

It helped salvage one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods with an artist relocation program that lured talent from around the country.

And art, in the form of 52 murals and a national museum devoted to quilting (much cooler than it sounds — I promise), served as a shot in the arm for downtown revitalization, sparing the historic area from the fate of many a small city destroyed by suburban sprawl.

More recently, art is what prompted UNESCO to designate Paducah as one of only six “Creative Cities” in the U.S. In late September, delegates from around the world will huddle here for the inaugural meeting of the Creative Cities’ crafts and folk art network.

You could say art is woven into the fabric of this town of roughly 25,000, known as Quilt City USA (again — cooler than it sounds). And the creative vibe that comes along with it has kept Paducah from devolving into just another pit stop off the interstate."

By Lori Rackl, Chicago Tribune

View this full feature of Paducah here!