The Office of Mayor Marc McGovern is proud to announce that members for the Mayor’s Arts Task Force, chaired by Councillor Alanna Mallon, have been selected. The Mayor’s Office received approximately 50 letters of interest highlighting each applicant’s unique perspective and passion for improving arts investment in Cambridge. Through a collaborative process between the Mayor, Councillor Mallon, and the Executive Director of the Cambridge Arts Council Jason Weeks, task force members, many of whom are renowned for their crafts, were selected to represent a diversity of disciplines and the socioeconomic diversity of our City.
“I’m grateful to Councillor Mallon for her willingness to lead on this important issue. I want to thank all of those who applied to participate” Mayor McGovern said. “The Arts in Cambridge are important to the fabric of our community, which is why this Task Force was formed. I’m looking forward to this work.”
The Mayor’s Office is proud to announce the following appointees to the Mayor’s Arts Task force: Christopher Hope, founder of The Loop Lab; Ben Simon, EMF musician; David DeCelis, architect and Public Arts Commission; James Pierre, muralist and manager of the Community Arts Center’s Public Art Program; Kelly Sherman, working visual artist and innovation consultant; Olufolakemi Alalade, working visual artist as a member of MatriArts, a museum shop curated to promote African women’s arts and materials; Peter DiMuro, Executive Director of the Dance Complex; Olivia D’Ambrosio, Director of the Bridge Repertory Theater; Eryn Johnson, Executive Director of the Community Arts Center; A representative from Spaceus, an arts space rehab startup founded by Ellen Shakespear and Stephanie Lee; Martha McKenna, Director of the Creative Commons at Lesley University; Jero Nesson, Brickbottom Gallery; Kristina Latino, CEO of Cornerscape and music festival organizer; Sarah Gallop, Government Relations at MIT; Geeta Pradhan, Cambridge Community Foundation; and Michael Monestime, Executive Director of the Central Square Business Association.
This group includes working artists in the disciplines of dance, music, music production, theater, and visual arts, as well as specialists in developing arts spaces like studios and housing. Members will bring their expertise to help solve some of the most pressing issues facing working artists in Cambridge: lack of affordable creative space, sustainable funding, and strengthening Central Square as an Arts and Cultural District. The group is also representative of the diverse communities we have here in Cambridge, because both the arts and arts policy must be reflective of the communities they affect.
“I’m excited to lead this group in a substantive and collaborative discussion about how the City can increase investment in our arts community,” Councillor Mallon said. “The arts are more than just something to be appreciated – they are an economic driver, an outlet for individual and community expression, and a major contributor to the very identity of our City. It’s vital that we have our working artists and those with extensive arts management backgrounds at the table contributing to the policy process, and that their expertise in their fields be a key element of City policy making.”
In addition, our arts community will be supported on the Task Force by City Staff, including representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Community Development Department, Office of Budget and Finance, Mayor’s Office Liaison Afiyah Harrigan, and Executive Director of the Arts Council Jason Weeks.
The Mayor’s Arts Task Force meetings will be held monthly and will begin in October and conclude in June of 2019. In addition to our appointed members and City staff, the task force will welcome additional guest speakers to add their expertise on policy issues such as artist live/work space, diverse cultural programming, or funding sources.
“I applaud Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mallon, and City Administration for recognizing the critical role that the arts play in the City, and for establishing an Arts Task Force as a means to hear directly from the community on need, and translate that information into tools and resources that will allow the arts and creative sector to remain local and thrive”, said Jason Weeks, the Executive Director of the Cambridge Arts Council.
The goal of the task force is to present an arts plan with well-informed, actionable policy steps that will ensure our arts community thrives in Cambridge.