An Overflow Crowd for the Boston Creates Town Hall

The energy and enthusiasm for the cultural planning process was very evident on Tuesday, June 2 as more than 450 people turned out for the Boston Creates Town Hall, the first event in the community engagement phase of the cultural planning process.

As people entered the doors of English High School in Jamaica Plain, they were asked to fill out a name tag that asked “What do you create?”

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From opportunities to music, theater to collaboration, the ideas of the name badges truly reflected the diversity of the audience. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds, represented every community and neighborhood in the city.

The evening began with a presentation from Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston, responsible for overseeing the cultural planning process. Julie outlined the goals of the cultural planning process and the core principles as identified by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Following Julie, David Plettner-Saunders of the Cultural Planning Group discussed the timeline and actions of the process.

After the presentations, the group broke up into small groups for facilitated discussions designed to learn more about individual thoughts and opinions about arts and culture in the city. Issues surrounding funding consistently rose to the top, as well as accessibility to performance space and artist housing. Arts in schools was also an important issues, with individuals emphasizing that art should not be considered a bonus activity in the classroom.

The group came back together at the end of the evening to discuss what they had heard. One thing was very clear – there is great excitement for the process and a strong desire to be involved. With that in mind, we are looking forward to the community engagement phase.

Read more about the Town Hall in this story from the Mission Hill Gazette or in this blog post on Big Red & Shiny.