City sets 10-year program to make Boston artier; program includes setting aside apartments for artists in rebuilt housing projects

Mayor Walsh today annnounced a ten-year program, called Boston Creates, to "weave arts and culture into the fabric of everyday life" in the city.

The city will set aside money each year for public art projects - 1% of each year's spending on capital projects. One of the first areas to benefit will be Hyde Square in Jamaica Plain, where the city Public Works Department will spend $100,000 on public art to go along with a planned road upgrade.

Also, the city is designating Upham's Corner in Dorchester as the first of three "arts innovation districts," to turn it into "a cultural hub, building upon the City's investment in the Strand Theatre and integrating local businesses and arts into the economy." Two other areas in the city, not yet selected, will also be designated this way.

The Boston Foundation will spend $1.5 million over three years on grants to small dance and theater troupes, while the MFA will help the city preserve its existing art - and will begin to display more of its sculptures on Fenway parkland near the museum. The Barr Foundation will kick in another $250,000. Emerson Collecte will work with the city to try to develop a "Creative industries workforce program," while institutions with space to spare - including Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the AT&T store on Boylston Street and the Plumbers Local 12 union hall will let local cultural groups use the space for rehersals.

Key to the program, however, is finding a way to let local artists stay in the increasingly expensive city. The Boston Foundation will study how to house artists, but in the meantime, the mayor's office announced:

Today the Boston Housing Authority announced it will begin to set aside low-income housing for artists in redevelopments. As part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill public housing development into a new mixed-income community in Charlestown, the Boston Housing Authority and its developer partner Corcoran-SunCal will set aside 10 units of low-income housing, available to income-eligible artists. Simultaneously, new guidelines will be created for the City of Boston Artist Certification Program.

The BHA and the developer have also pledged to set aside money for public art in the project, with the details to be announced in the coming months.

Walsh also announced a grant program, that will distribute a total of $10,000 a month, to local artists, to be followed later this year with a fellowship program.

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Can we also get taxpayer-subsidized units

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set aside for engineers? A lot of us are crammed in with roommates in real dumps, because we can't afford to live here either.

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Your education and the company you work for...

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...are probably already appreciably subsidized, even if you attended a private college. And, of course, as has been discussed on UHub before, as an engineer, you will end up making much more than artists, nurses, school teachers, biologists, etc.

And depending on what type of engineering you do, many/most of your future projects will depend directly or indirectly on public money.

Software engineer? Not only are you building on the shoulders of 60 years of NASA, DARPA, OST (and so on) research & infrastructure, but you are relying on an educated public to use or buy your product, and most Americans still attend public schools.

Civil engineer? You will move equipment over federal & state roads, to land often purchased with subsidized funding. And that's at the very least-- if you build or work on bridges, railroads, locks, airports, schools, courthouses, hospitals, or farms, your project would not be possible without public funds.

Mining? Aeronautics? Mechanical? Bioengineering? Please. These fields would be decimated without protections and subsidies.

But sure, though, if you want to grudge artists receiving housing assistance, you be you.

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I'm a techie myself, and I

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I'm a techie myself, and I desperately want to know what technology is good for, if not to serve the needs of and distribute works by creatives.

Why the heck would anyone build a Netflix if no-one cared about movies?

Even civil engineers and other infrastructure builders - if they want the only beneficiaries of their labors to be fellow engineers, they are heartily invited to remove themselves to a Peter Thiel style gulch out in international waters. Enough of us will remain to keep the human race plugging along just fine without them.

"What about the engineers" is the new "why no white history month?"

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Why does the city NEED any of you

Why do artists or anybody have to live in the city limits? Exactly what are we supposed to be doing here? I have lived here 25 years and literally nobody has asked me for neighborhood art -- Except to give them something for free as a donation.

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Engineers and techies make far more money than artists do.

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Also, many artists/craftspeople have to work other jobs that're totally unrelated to their fields in order to support themselves; i. e. put food in their pantries and on the table, to pay rent, bills, etc.

What's wrong with adding more artists'/craftspeople's housing to the city of Boston? It could more more, imho.

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EM, even when that's right...

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... and sometimes it is, then the problem is with the administration of the program, not the underlying idea.

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samo silo

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The same 20 people will get the funds. Boston is over run by scared bullying defensive ' groups". You cannot strategize art, it is organic. Put the money into art teachers in BPS, create a generation of art literate Bostonians, that could change the tone of the City, not people who apply for grants for their C.V.s .

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Income-eligible artists?

I make $15 an hour. Here's a stick figure and some macaroni glued to construction paper. I'll take the corner unit.

Enough with the social engineering. Just keep building places, and tax the (expletive) out of foreign buyers.

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I agree with Will

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For once. I'm all for private organizations and coops banding together to do this, but Boston's got major affordability issues coming down the pipe.

I don't think the city should be focusing on one provided group of low income workers.

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Holy Crap - Politicians had better duck

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If will and anon-deuce agree - then there's no argument

To Will's point - who the hell gets to determine who an "artist" is?

And is there an asset test - what if you have very little (declared) income and you are working under the table or if you have a $3 million trust/IRA that isn't distributing money to you for a couple years - do you get the apartment?

Whole thing sounds like a set up for the well-connected and those in the know.

And if we have a randome $10k per month floating around - there are probably 100 other places it could be spent that doesn't include someone else's definition of artist.

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U win

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Today's internets.

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Generally there's an art as

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Generally there's an art as percentage of total income requirement. Quit your day job and subsist on your macaroni earnings, and I for one will heartily endorse your eligibility.

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BRA Artist Certification

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The BRA has an Artist Certification, requiring evidence of exhibition and attestations from other professionals. Here is the link: BRA Artist

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In other words

Housing in rich people areas for artists who are officially approved by rich people and university educated.

Because rich people like having these artists around (but don't pay them enough to live in the places that they want to live in).

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No, mate, the homeless do not

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No, mate, the homeless do not qualify as artists even we'd try to help them pretend so. Requirements include "education" and "peer recognition". It's enough be a Berklee "artist" in order to automatically become more worth than the homeless.
As home-schooled and self-taught, Vivaldi wouldn't have qualified for the privileges these Berklee "artists" get.
Remember the woman who inherited a million-dollar home, and explained last month she won't sell her letter from Cobaine? She got paid or that nonsense article, and now she could be getting a home at our expense.
Etc etc.

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I am an engineer, and think

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I am an engineer, and think that engineers are overvalued and artists are undervalued in our society. Nevertheless I am skeptical of this proposal, because it will require that somebody in Government decide who qualifies as an artist. It is precisely because that is such a difficult question to answer that artists are so valuable, and there is no one, least alone any one designated by statute, who is qualified to have the final say in answering it.

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I'm with you in the sense

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I'm with you in the sense that I agree government is bad at picking winners and losers, but if the alternative is less public art, I'll take what I can get.

Also, keep in mind that if the government isn't picking the art, that means it's the private sector. And when it comes to the kind of art that costs thousands of dollars per piece to produce, that means you're essentially putting the selection process in the hands of a small number of very wealthy people, and their taste tends toward the predictable and the boring (hint: they mostly invest in art that is already famous--and not necessarily for aesthetic or socially important reasons).

Many of the world's most significant works of art were paid for with tax dollars.

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Sound familiar?

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Remember when the City dumped all the artists in closed down buildings in the Fort Point Channel section of Southie?

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Without being familiar with

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Without being familiar with the story of "artists being dumped in Fort Point Channel", I suspect you are using the wrong word. It cannot be that the city or anyone else forced artists to live in Fort Point City. Likely, you mean "the city gave subsidized or free housing to artists, but it wasn't in the middle of downtown, so boo".
You see, this sort of socialism for the rich is what makes even someone like Trump preferable to self-identified Pocahontas. This is why even safe seats like Massachusetts senate are lost to Republicans - and both houses are majority Republican now. How about subsidized housing for nursing aides, actual nursing aides, before make-belief artists?

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Want artists to move here?

If you want artists to move here, it HAS to be cheaper to live here than NYC. Not just cheaper, but enough of a savings to justify living in a place with significantly worse transportation infrastructure and puritanesque laws that don't jive with the night owl artist lifestyle. Programs like this BHA one are nice, but won't really have much of an impact.

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They make great pets

Seriously, though - what is with the vocational discrimination? No to students, preference for artists? Sounds like we are verging on a world where blue collar workers won't be allowed to live in certain places? No nurses? Doctors only?

In the meantime, pet artists will reside in the back rooms of expensive condoplexes while the whole issue of affordable housing is ignored. I'm not sure what the point is, other than creating gilded cages for particular guilds or so rich people can keep them like pets.

Want affordable artist housing? Join the growing colonies that are slowly revitalizing bruised cities like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Lansing among others*... places where artists are doing what they do best - homesteading in cheap digs and growing the communities and economies of their chosen zones.

EDIT: *did I forget to mention Memphis?

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