As artists, I’d like to think we aspire to give most of our time to this wild idea called the importance of artistic expression. For many of us, devoting ourselves to what we create would be in alignment with John Locke’s decree to “..life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Sadly, this is not the reality of many artists in Massachusetts, and especially not the status quo for those of us who are artists in the city of Boston. Many of us have just been “making do” with what we have and possibly a little help from this agency, a small endowment from a community partner and then an awkward guess as to how to maintain the sustainability of the project or installation. “That’s just the way it is.” you were probably told. And then came Julie Burros and an entire team of artists, movers and shakers making an inviting albeit no-nonsense statement like: “Boston Creates
I decided I liked where they might be going with this and I feel strongly that so should you. It may be a simple statement to some, but I feel that the namesake of this initiative crosses all of its ‘t’s’ and puts smiley faced dots on all it’s ‘i’ identifiers like intrinsic, information and inclusionary. That’s why I decided to give my time via volunteering; I was hanging onto that crazy idea still of making people see that artists and the things we create are very important to the continued growth and development of the city of Boston.
I’d imagine that piqued by the curiosity of what it is exactly the city was doing by enforcing the idea that Boston Creates, folks stopped by our volunteer-staffed Boston Creates table to share their stories, suggestions, ideas and concerns. One woman asked about swing dancing being brought to the city, a community partner shared about not being consulted about how to best approach residents in his community, and a mother shared about having to scale back on her kid’s piano and ballet lessons, due to money. She was hoping to find resources on a centralized site to go for “art assistance”. A lot of the things shared with me resonated deeply. I connected each one of these folks with the Boston Creates survey and showed them screen shots on my phone of where on the survey they could input their concerns.
In meeting over 100 new people as part of this experience, most with the same concerns that I have, I realize we’re all pages in the Boston Art Anthology whether you’re a sculptor, dancer, actor, painter, poet, singer, writer, etc. Let’s keep the conversations going! Talk to your employers, communities, agencies and your nail technician if you’ve found a reputable one, about the importance of supporting artists in the city of Boston. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to take the survey, attend the community meetings and the Town Halls, and keep yourself informed via the updates and newsletter. Do it for no other reason than to make sure they’re unmistakably aware of what we’ve already known: Boston Creates and we do it well.