The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture serves as the umbrella organization for all town-related arts and culture activities. The Commission consists of a core committee and four main standing subcommittees: Public Art, Marketing and Evaluation, Grant Making and Resource Development, and Programs and Festivals. The Commission's responsibilities include actively promoting and advocating for arts and culture, managing the Arlington Cultural District, seeking and distributing arts-related grants and supporting a robust public art program for the Town.
Examples of accomplishments since the Commission's activation in 2014 include:
- Completing an Arts and Culture Plan for the town in partnership with the Department of Planning and Community Development
- Coordinating, applying and receiving a Cultural District designation for the town from the Massachusetts Cultural Council that received recognition from the Boston Globe.
- Hiring and working with Cecily Miller, a public art consultant, on significant public art projects, including Pathways on the Minuteman Bike Path
- Coordinating and absorbing the previously disparate arts organizations - Arlington Public Art, Arlington Cultural Council, and the Cultural District Managing Partnership - under one umbrella
- Creating Arts Arlington, a centralized arts and culture website for the town with a comprehensive cultural calendar, and publishing a regular ArtsArlington Newsletter spotlighting cultural events and news around town.
To learn more about our recent accomplishments, please read our 2019 Annual Report here.
The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture cultivates a sustainable and supportive environment for the arts and enlivens public space with accessible creative experiences to strengthen and enrich our community, create opportunities for artists, and invigorate the local economy.
Statement on Cultural Equity
The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) is committed to pursuing policies and practices of cultural equity and encourages participation from people of all backgrounds. Culture equity refers to the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.
While the Commission was originally written into the town bylaws since 1993, it was not activated untl 2014. In June 2012, the Arlington Cultural Council in partnership with the Arlington Center for the Arts, the newly formed Arlington Public Art, Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee and Sustainable Arlington, held a town wide meeting with the goal to 'foster collaborative opportunities between the town, businesses, non-profits, artists and residents that capitalize on arts and culture for the benefit of our community and local economy.'
Eighty-five people attended including Town Meeting members, owners of restaurants and other businesses, representatives of non-profit organizations, local artists and residents. The meeting included presentations from the former Executive Director of the Arlington Center for the Arts, John Budzyna; Town Manager, Adam Chapdelaine; Program Manager of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Cultural Districts Initiative, Merl Jenkins and Manager of the Capitol Square Merchants Association, Jan Whitted. The meeting result in three top priorities:
- A centralized arts and culture website and brand,
- A signature event,
- A leadership body to coordinate and implement arts and culture initiatives.
Recognizing the importance of arts, culture and creativity to Arlington's vibrancy, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine appointed commissioners to the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture (ACAC), formerly the Arlington Cultural Commission, in 2013. Among the Commission's duties was to create a long-term cultural plan for the town. In summer of 2016, town staff and community leaders from the Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture (ACAC) joined forces to initiate the Arlington Arts and Culture Action Plan, which was created through a technical assistance grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and a hired consultant from TDC. The Commission is now charged with implementing the plan in partnership with the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Please view our STRATEGIC PLAN, adopted November 2019, HERE
Cristin Canterbury Bagnall (Co-Chair)
Stewart Ikeda (Co-Chair)
Stephen Poltorzycki (Treasurer)
Aneliese Ruggles (Secretary)
There are many ways to support the Commission's work on behalf of our Town, whether through donations, volunteering, event partnership and attendance, and more. Read more here.
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We are currently seeking people to work with ACAC. We welcome volunteers of all walks and interests who love to see the arts and culture flourish in tour town, but have specific needs for people with experience and interest in the following roles:
Marketing Committee: Help with messaging and communications for ACAC, contribute to ArtsArlington.org and social media channels, promote live arts events townwide, contribute to destination marketing campaigns, more. Design, web, PR, media industry, event marketing skills are all welcome! Contact email@example.com.
Fundraising Committee: Help apply for grants, organize fundraisers, and otherwise help support the cultural programs and community work of the Commission. Experience in nonprofit, development, business outreach, grant writing especially valuable. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grants Committee: The committee is responsible for awarding grants each year to support local artists and cultural entities in realizing projects that otherwise might not get off the ground. The Committee generally meets on the second Monday of the month, 7:30-9:00 pm in the Town Hall Annex. Come to one or two meetings and if it seems like a fit, submit a short letter of intent and your resume to the Committee at ArlingtonCulturalCouncil@gmail.com.