Arts and Culture
Part of what makes Somerville such a vibrant and exciting city is our thriving arts sector. Being a home to the arts is a key part of what sets Somerville apart in the region. As Somerville develops, we have to keep a keen eye towards providing space for the arts and artists. Projects like the ArtFarm need to continue to be funded and expanded. They provide art and culture while also building an infrastructure around climate resilience and maintaining a diverse and affordable city. The imminent city purchase of the Armory also provides a canvas for further arts policy.
Somerville can be a leader in the arts with the right management that I can provide. I will advocate for our city’s artists and performers, and for more integration of art programs in our public schools. This will instill values, provide inspiration, translate experiences, and foster empathy in our community far beyond the reach of the schools.
Public Art: The ability of Somerville’s artists and performers to express themselves in our public spaces is of paramount importance in preserving the character of our neighborhoods. We need to further integrate art into our school systems, businesses, and infrastructure projects. The murals and other public visual art through the city should be supported and expanded.
Youth Arts Programming: Creative expression for young people fosters the sort of adults that our society needs. There must be integrated arts education in our schools as well as accessible arts opportunities and outreach in our community.
Housing: Like so many of our residents, artists are being priced out of their Somerville homes. More needs to be done to keep creative people in the city. Organizations like the Brickbottom Artists Association have forged a path nationally for artists living and working in our community. These cooperative efforts create multi-use spaces that enrich the city and provide a model for alternative modes of organizing living and working spaces. There also should be targeted provision on a smaller scale for artists living among us, through strategies such as grants, property owner incentives, and municipally backed low-interest loans.
Space for Creating: Alongside housing, studio space for creating needs to be conserved and expanded in the city. There have been too many recent studio closures that stifle art in Somerville. Artists of all types need places to create in our city.
Diversity of the Arts Community: Immigrant artists play an important role in the arts community, and learning about different traditions of arts and culture develops empathy. The arts are yet another area in which our diversity makes us stronger.