Breanna Lungo-Koehn's Response to the Arts & Culture Questionnaire

Your Personal Connection

We’ve all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experiences with the arts, the humanities, or creativity have had an impact on your life and your view of the role of the arts and culture in our shared civic life?

  • Having attended St. Joseph’s School from Kindergarten to eighth grade, I was lucky enough to take part in the Parish Shows that were held every year. The parish shows were made up of children and adults of all ages. The show was put on about 3 times during one weekend and it took numerous hours of practicing to make them a success. I enjoyed the time with friends, the singing, dancing and acting. When I think of the parish shows or when I see an old picture it just makes me smile. It is the reason that I have been looking into the different options for drama and music classes for my children. I hope they get to experience what I was lucky enough to growing up. 

The New Administration’s Role in the Creative Community

The City of Medford’s recent decision to allocate $30,000 to the 2016 budget for the Medford Arts Council is an important step toward restoring a level of cultural funding that we have not seen in Medford since 2002. Even with this investment, there will likely remain a significant shortfall in our ability to fulfill grant requests and to sponsor new public art initiatives that are much in demand. Beyond the Medford Arts Council, there are numerous unrealized opportunities and unmet needs in the areas of revitalization, education, cultural planning, community development, and support for our creative community.

Do you support the inclusion of a yearly line item for the Medford Arts Council in the city budget? What strategies would you use to grow the arts and culture budget for Medford?

  • I voted to approve the $10,000.00 allocation for the Medford Arts Council in the 2015 budget. I also was one of three City Councilors to move that the line item be tripled in the 2016 budget. I do believe that not only should there be a line item in the City budget, but also that the City should support and work to help the arts council with their positive enhancements to the arts in our community. 

Members of the City Council have publicly called for a “home for the arts” in Medford—do you agree that a dedicated space is needed, and if so, what kinds of resources would you marshal to make this space available?

  • I do believe that there should be a home for the arts. I believe that the discussion on a city master plan and a city capital improvement plan should begin between the new City Council and new Mayor in 2017. The home for the arts should be on that list for discussion as well as the Chevalier theatre. I have heard and like the idea of something within the heart of Medford in Medford Square. Putting a second floor on the Library and making part of that a “Home for the Arts” sounds like a great idea. I think the City needs to invest in the Library, Chevalier and a potential home for the arts and I also believe the supporters of the arts, Chevalier and the Library with the City’s help should work on different fundraising possibilities. 

Some members of the creative community view the Chevalier Theatre as a special asset that is underutilized and in dire need of essential upgrades and investment that will build on recent efforts to improve its situation. How should the new administration lead in supporting this institution, and what specific resources should be provided to help realize its amazing potential?

I think the three best steps to improve the Chevalier are air conditioning, a Marque, and more support from the City. 

Creative Placemaking

Throughout Massachusetts, cities are experimenting successfully with revitalization, development, and social resiliency efforts that incorporate the creative use of public space—this is sometimes described as “creative placemaking.” A 2010 white paper for The Mayors’ Institute for City Design describes this strategy as one in which: “[Partners] from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.”

  1. What kinds of creative placemaking initiatives can you envision as being introduced or expanded to promote Medford’s livability, economic development, and distinctive cultural character?
  2. The City’s 2011 Open Space and Recreation Plan calls for the “Inclusion of public art in the city’s parks and open spaces”—and many residents support this recommendation. Would you support efforts to introduce new temporary or permanent public art into our parks, playgrounds, and open spaces?
  3. What is your view of the role of the city administration in partnering with real estate developers to ensure that new construction incorporates appropriate elements for creative placemaking?
  • I would be very interested in hearing more about temporary and permanent public art in Medford’s parks, playgrounds and open spaces. 


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