Protect Somerville’s Cultural Infrastructure
Image: Plan for ArtFarm in Somerville
Dear Arts Community,
Somerville’s strong creative community is acknowledged nation-wide, even internationally. The programming and innovation that artists, musicians, dancers, and countless makers of all sorts have produced, have been strong factors in making our city a destination to work, play, and live. Unfortunately, we are, increasingly, victims of our own success as space becomes increasingly impossible to afford. Luxury condominiums, the buzz phrase of the real estate market, are taking away our space to live, create, present, perform, practice, teach, learn, and collaborate.
We, as individuals and as an arts community, need to bring our concerns to our representatives and engage with them to strengthen the cultural infrastructure in Somerville.
It is an especially active election season this year in the City of Somerville. The Mayor has an opponent for the first time in years, and a number of incumbents on the Board of Alderman (BOA) are being challenged as well.
Here are some important points to consider:
• If you live in Somerville, please vote. The people elected on November 7th have responsibility for guiding our city through a period of intense change.
• Learn who your elected officials are and reach out to them and their challengers to find out where they stand on the issues that are important to you.
• Make sure that the Mayor and the BOA understand the contributions that the cultural economy brings to our city. Let them know your personal contributions and why you chose Somerville as your home and/or place to work. Here is a list of email addresses (download). Please take four minutes to write to them—now.
Without the commitment of the Mayor and the BOA to address the lack of infrastructure to support our creative economy, Somerville will definitely lose the creative spirit and energy that makes us what we are today. It has already begun.
I strongly suggest that you ask the Mayor and your Aldermen/women to support development that includes infrastructure for our cultural endeavors, including but not limited to:
• The ARTFarm project outside of Union Square
• Affordable work/live space
• Affordable performance/practice space
• Community gallery space
What is ARTFarm? ARTFarm is a unique collaboration defined by community cultural programming and urban agriculture. It has received commitments of approximately 1.4 million dollars and has the potential to serve as an international model; yet, after three years of planning, the project is under threat of being downsized, moved, or even abandoned.
Attend the next ARTFarm Q&A with Mayor Curtatone on Monday, October 30, from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm at the BrickBottom Artists Association.
The Somerville that I love is changing and, unfortunately, not completely for the better. It is up to us make our representatives accountable to the needs of our community.
Thank you for your support.
Director of the Nave Galleries