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: Marketing and Evaluation, Grant Making, Fundraising and Resource Development, and Community Engagement (formerly Public Art 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, the Arlington Poet Laureate, 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.
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 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 until 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
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