Boston Globe: North Adams rebounds with art, education

Throughout Massachusetts, the message rings true: art builds community!

Brian MacQuarrie of the Boston Globe wrote an in-depth piece about the role of art in raising North Adams to become a cultural destination and an economic driver in the Berkshires. Prior to the city's arts & cultural prominence, North Adams faced tough economic times: 

"When the bustling mills here sputtered and failed over the last several decades, much of the soul of North Adams went with them. Residents dispersed, unemployment soared, and rates of teenage pregnancy and domestic violence followed suit." North Adams rebounds with art, education," The Boston Globe

When the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) opened over a decade ago, it sparked a transformation: galleries and art venues began to sprout up downtown and flesh out the local arts scene. Now home to 21 galleries and museums as well as 10 pieces of public art, the city's enriching experiences attract tourists and art enthusiasts alike.

“It’s kind of an amazing thing to have a depressed town reinvigorated through art,” said Jonah Emerson-Bell, a designer working at MASS MoCA.

Local colleges like the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts also deserve recognition. With its concentration of young talent and enthusiasm, MCLA has become a vibrant, innovative partner to the city. As an institution, MCLA also feeds into to the local economy through its pertinent investment plans. Its recent $30 million science center promises to bring in more money and create local jobs. 

To read more about this story, read Brian MacQuarrie's article over at the Boston Globe

As neighborhoods, cities, and regions around the Commonwealth move forward in times of economic uncertainty, narratives like this prove there is a lesson to glean from the creative sector: if nurtured, arts and culture can serve as a transformative tool in building community.  


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Montreal mayoral candidates campaign on the arts

On November 3, voters in Montreal will elect a new mayor. And they are, according to LaScena Musicale, a monthly arts and culture magazine, “competing for the affections of the arts and culture sector.”

Sound familiar?

As in Boston, artists in Montreal are working together to ensure that their next mayor is a champion of the arts:

"[W]orkers from the arts and culture sector want to ensure that the future administration acts on their most pressing concerns. They want a more active mayor, one who is involved with and will support cultural sector workers, who are often neglected when it comes to financial support."

Requests from the creative community include an increase in public investment in the arts and cultural sector; encouraging provincial and federal governmental support for the arts; and full implementation of a cultural action plan.

You can read the full article here. Scroll down to page 20 of the PDF. 

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Marty Walsh: ‘I’ve learned a lot’

The Marty Walsh who showed up for a public meeting sponsored by the Create the Vote coalition in the meeting house of the Museum of African American History Oct. 18 was a much different candidate than the Marty Walsh who sat down with the coalition for a discussion of arts and culture August, 13, 2013.

And Walsh himself pointed out the difference. Noting that he was the first candidate in the mayoral race to pledge to hire a cabinet-level arts commissioner, Walsh said he has a much deeper appreciation today for what such a move would mean to the arts and cultural community as well as what it would bring to the city than he did five months ago. 

“When I say that today, it has a whole different meaning,” Walsh said. “I want to have an arts renaissance in the city of Boston.”


(Photo Credit: Don Schaefer)


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Museum Directors Talk About the Need for Arts Leadership from Next Mayor of Boston

lane_turner_globe_staff.jpgBoston Globe arts reporter Geoff Edgers interviewed the directors of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Institute of Contemporary Art to find out what they “hope[d] to see from the next mayor of Boston.” The piece ran on the front page of the Globe’s Sunday arts section on October 20, 2013, and it made for fascinating reading.

MFA Executive Director Malcolm Rogers said that he was pleased that both candidates had pledged to hire a cabinet-level cultural officer: “We haven’t always felt there’s been a strong representative within the administration. So to have a cabinet position would be tremendous, if that cabinet post is at the table. The arts, generally, have not been around the table when decisions have been made.”

Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, talked about the contributions the arts have made in Boston: “Part of what we want is for the arts to be made a priority and valued for what they bring. In the introduction to that panel [the Boston Mayoral Candidate Forum on Arts, Culture, and Creativity held at the Paramount Theatre on Sept. 9], what was said was that the arts generate 10,000 jobs, 10 million visitors, and a billion dollars in economic activity. Those are big numbers.”

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Director Anne Hawley talked about the need for cooperation among arts groups: “The cultural sector doesn’t really have a flying wedge in order to really interact with either the city or the state. MASSCreative has been formed as an advocacy, policy push, … We all are very fragmented. We don’t see each other enough.”

You can read the full piece here.

Sign up to be an arts voter here! We are making an impact! Let’s keep the dialogue going through Election Day, Tuesday, November 5!


(Photo Credit: Lane Turner/Globe Staff)


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The Boston Globe: Walsh vows commitment to arts

Wesley Lowery from the Boston Globe attended the Create the Vote Forum with Marty Walsh last Friday at the African Meeting House and wrote a piece highlighting his experience. Lowery broadcasted Marty Walsh's newly defined Cultural Affairs Agenda and shared memorable quotes from the morning: 

“Arts can change lives, build communities, create jobs, and create new opportunities for individuals, neighborhoods, and Boston as a whole,” said Walsh, a longtime state representative. “I will support the full range of art and expression that contribute to Boston’s collective culture and traditions. In my administration, artists will have a true partner and advocate in City Hall.”

Read the entire article on the Boston Globe's website.  


(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)

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From the Candidate's Website: Marty Walsh's Cultural Affairs Agenda


*All language comes form the candidate's website:


"Marty Walsh understands that art can change lives, build communities, create jobs, and create new opportunities for individuals, neighborhoods, and Boston as a whole. He was the first mayoral candidate to publicly pledge to create a cabinet-level commissioner for the arts. This will be a key component in implementing his larger vision integrating the arts throughout Boston’s policies, initiatives, and programs. Creation of an Office of Cultural Affairs will help make this a reality while strengthening and growing Boston’s arts and culture. This new office will be a partner in all creative economic and tourism discussions and initiatives.

Boston’s artists of all disciplines, ages, and backgrounds are central to Marty’s planned Artists First Initiative. This initiative will address artists’ occupational health needs, professional development, affordable artist space, fair trade, and compensation. Artists will have a true partner and advocate in City Hall when Marty is elected. He will support the full range of art and expression that contribute to Boston’s collective culture and traditions. Marty’s proposals for this sector center on the following:

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Boston Gay Men’s Chorus: using music to heal

When he performs as a member of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC), Samuel Brinton’s is one of 175 voices that fill concert halls across the city and around the world. He stands shoulder to shoulder with other men who understand many of his joys and struggles. He feels part of a community.

He never thought this could happen. Because once upon a time, Brinton believed he was the only gay person in the world.


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Two Letters in Response to the Boston Globe's Public Art Piece

The Boston Globe ran two letters in response to its public art pieces last weekend, Moving beyond the bronze age and Graffiti: Make room for more Bartlett YardsThe first letter, penned by Create the Vote coalition members Matt Pollock, Executive Director of HarborArts, and Gary Dunning, Executive Director of Celebrity Series, celebrates the attention public art receives in the recent Globe coverage. Pollock and Dunning write that artists in the city are working collaboratively toward creating cultural change and public art plays an essential role in this arts advocacy movement: 

"We believe good public art inspires conversation and connection. Every city, including Boston, could use more of that." City poised for a renaissance, The Boston Globe

In another letter, Roxbury artist, Peter Bass, directly engages the conversation about public art sparked in the two Globe pieces. Bass favors the bronze statues scattered around the city, calling attention to their historical and cultural significance to Boston. It's essential, Bass argues, to see the value in public art Boston already has; however, that doesn't mean we don't need more public art:

"I would like to join with Smee in calling for public art that’s more exciting and easily accessible, but at the same time I want to make sure we maintain Boston’s traditional love of art that’s grand and historical." A place for both bold and bronze, The Boston Globe

Read the letter from Gary Dunning and Matt Pollock, City poised for a renaissanceand the letter from Peter Bass, A place for both bold and bronze

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Create the Vote Coalition to host public meetings with Mayoral Finalists John Connolly and Marty Walsh

BOSTON, October 15, 2013—Create the Vote, a coalition of Boston arts, cultural, and creative institutions, announced today that it will host public meetings with Boston mayoral finalists John Connolly and Marty Walsh. Joyce Kulhawik, President of the Boston Theater Critics Association and, will moderate both meetings. The public is invited to attend.

The Create the Vote Forum with Marty Walsh will be held Friday, October 18 at the African Meeting House of the Museum of African American History at 46 Joy Street on Beacon Hill. The event will run from 9-10AM. The public is invited to arrive by 8:30AM for breakfast.

The Create the Vote Forum with John Connolly will be held Friday, October 25 at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 West Newton Street in the South End. Villa Victoria is a program of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas En Acción. The event will run from 4:15-5:15 PM. The public is invited to arrive by 3:45.

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A fine day for democracy

BOSTON, October 11, 2013 – MASSCreative delivered over 1200 signatures today to Governor Patrick’s office at the State House, asking him to allocate the remaining $26 million of the Cultural Facilities Fund.

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