Arlington ALIVE!

The Arlington Center for the Arts was the scene of a lively public meeting last week, “Arlington ALIVE”: Creating a Cultural Destination” – a townwide meeting and panel discussion aimed at positioning Arlington as a great local destination for the Arts.

Stacie Smith of the Consensus Building institute (and an Arlington resident) served as moderator of “Arlington ALIVE”

The meeting was co-sponsored by the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Arlington Cultural Council, Arlington Public Art, the Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee, and Sustainable Arlington.

John Budzyna, Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts introduced the sponsoring organizations.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine spoke about the Town’s commitment to Arlington’s cultural resources and said the Town is excited to be part of recent initiatives to expand public art in Arlington.

Adam Chapdelaine led the group through an interactive mapping exercise, identifying arts and culture spots throughout the town – galleries, theaters, art studios, arts-related businesses, public art sites, etc.

Meri Jenkins of the Massachusetts Cultural Council spoke about the power of the arts to shape a community’s identity.   A resident of neighboring Lexington, Meri said she often sneaks across the border to partake of Arlington’s many lively arts and culture opportunities.

Meri Jenkins, Program Manager, Cultural Districts, Massachusetts Cultural Council

Jan Whitted, owner of Art Beat the Creativity Store, and leader of the Capitol Square District, spoke about how East Arlington businesses have banded together to create the vibrant artsy Capitol Square District, which hosts monthly and seasonal community events.

Jan Whitted spoke about the many ways that business owners, town leaders and volunteers have helped to grow the Capitol Square District into a distinct cultural destination in East Arlington.

About 100 folks attended the event, which culminated in a series of breakout sessions focused on next steps Arlington can take to grow into an ever more vibrant arts and cultural destination.

Q&A before the breakout sessions.

Top priorities named at the end of the evening were:
1) Centralized communication, consistent branding reaching a wide range of audiences from within and beyond Arlington
2) A Big Arts event to promote.
3) A leadership committee to help implement priorities

Stay tuned for a full report coming soon. Meanwhile, please post your comments from the evening so we can continue the conversation and inform those who were unable to come.

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