The current state of the arts in this country is a microcosm of the state of the nation. Large, mainstream arts institutions, founded to serve the public good and assigned non-profit status to do so, have come to resemble exclusive country clubs. Meanwhile, outside their walls, a dynamic new generation of artists, and the diverse communities where they live and work, are being systematically denied access to resources and cultural legitimation.
In addition to talking about unconventional venues for shows and the landscape of music venues in Boston, we also discussed an editorial that Dan recently published on Boston Hassle calling for Boston mayor Marty Walsh and his new Chief of Arts and Culture, Julie Burros to facilitate the creation of:
- Affordable small to mid-size performance spaces for housing social artistic experiences. Such spaces serve many kinds of artists, offering space in which to perform and hone their craft before an audience.
- More affordable living space for working artists of all kinds: sculptors, musicians, filmmakers, painters, writers, visual artists, etc. Lower rents = more time spent creating art.
- Affordable work/ practice space for artists. Artists need private space to work on their craft. Lower work/ practice space rent = more time spent creating art.
As of Monday, Dan hadn’t received much in the way of a response from the Walsh administration, but I still think it’s important that they are bringing up these issues.
Boston’s rent crisis has already driven most of the musicians I know out of the city. Affordable practice spaces are hard to come by.
If development in Boston is not paired with affordable housing, Boston’s going to be left with the city it deserves: gentrified, but sterile…and fit only for the 1%.
These are issues that are not unique to Boston. As cities grow and developers plan, we must to be mindful of the need for space for artists of all kinds. The vitality of our cities depends on it.
- Did the working class / artistic community already lose the fight?
- Are our cities already gone?
- Or is there still hope?
What do you think?