A project is disrupted at a SomerNova space, new reopening steps are revealed, and the Somerville Arts Council calls for Artbeat submissions
Welcome to the Somerville Wire’s May 11 Weekly Roundup—a fast look at local news published every Tuesday at somervillewire.news. Readers with Somerville-focused news tips or press releases or calendar items or letter and opinion submissions can send them to Wire staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us at (617) 209-9511.
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Installation incident at SomerNova space
Members of Green & Open Somerville and Groundwork Somerville recently partnered with SomerNova and Neighborways on a project in the alley between Market Basket and Dane Street, with the intention of calming traffic and beautifying the area. The installation included a native plant and pollinator corridor that was up and running just in time for Somerville Open Studios. An unknown individual posted a fake Craigslist ad that wrongly said the project was a temporary installation and that the public was welcome to take the planters away. Overnight, people unwittingly came and removed thousands of dollars worth of plants and planters.
Since this occurrence, a small number of the plants have been returned. Local authorities are currently investigating the matter. The overseers of the project now need help restoring the pollinator corridor. Anyone free for one to four hours this Thursday or Friday is welcome to come and help out. Interested parties should email Leigh Meunier at email@example.com.
State Representative Christine Barber has endorsed Councilor Katjana Ballantyne in her campaign for the position of mayor of Somerville. Please send news of any other endorsements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New reopening steps announced
The City announced that new reopening steps will go into effect on June 1. As more people are getting vaccinated, there is hope for more reopenings to happen in the future. According to a press release, the following will be the next changes that will take place:
- Dance floors will be allowed at private events, but facial coverings must be worn and there should be social distancing between households.
- Food and drinks will be allowed with recreational activities, but they must remain in one location. This means, for example, moviegoers can have snacks and drinks at their seats during a screening or bowlers can have food at their lane.
Metro North COVID-19 Vaccination Partnership to open vaccination sites
The new Metro North COVID-19 Vaccination Partnership is a consortium of nine sites, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Tufts University. They will be opening three joint vaccination sites and aim to expand vaccine equity. The sites will be located at CHA’s vaccination centers at 176 Somerville Avenue, as well as at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett and at Tufts’ Gantcher Center in Medford.
“Our communities and organizations came together to help advance both the statewide vaccination effort and to bring the vaccine closer to home especially for our vulnerable residents and workers. These centers aim to help break down the barriers to vaccine access and increase vaccine equity by reducing travel, language, and mobility challenges. For all of us, being ‘in this together’ truly means combining resources and working together to beat this virus,” said the Partnership in a press release.
“These communities have been on the front lines of the pandemic since it first hit our region in early 2020, and are in dire need of a regional solution to increasing the rates of vaccination and building vaccine confidence,” said Mark Fine, director of municipal collaboration at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. “By banding together to get doses closer to where residents live and work, we can increase the pace of vaccinations and ensure folks have access to this critical public health resource regardless of immigration status, car ownership, English fluency, work hours, or access to health insurance.”
Somerville Arts Council aims to preserve arts spaces
The Somerville Arts Council, the City of Somerville, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council are holding two surveys to find out if artists and creative organizations have stable access to arts spaces. Those who live or work in Somerville are welcome to take the surveys, which take five to nine minutes to complete. The groups will use the results to “identify the risks that arts spaces face, to inform public policy and establish programs to help preserve and develop arts spaces for individual artists and creative organizations in Somerville.” They are hoping to gain responses to the questions, “What spaces do you use to produce or present your creative work? How can your local government help these spaces thrive in the face or risks to redevelopment?”
The surveys need to be completed before May 24. Find the links below:
Over the past five months, SAC and MAPC have been working with a Cultural Space Task Force made up of artists, City planners, a City Councilor, and others to assess risks and opportunities relating to the City’s recent comprehensive zoning changes. The Task Force will inform MAPC “to develop an arts space assessment strategy that explores how municipal policies affect the sustainable operations of spaces where artists produce and disseminate their work.”
Open call for Artbeat 2021: Pop!
The Somerville Arts Council is seeking artists and performers to participate in ArtBeat 2021: Pop! The festival dates will be July 9-10, and the submission deadline is May 21. They are seeking art installations, activities, and performances that do not require large crowds or long-term participation. They are not doing a large-scale call for bands, crafts, or dance and will focus on smaller happenings.
“It’s been a long, rough year. Yet things are getting better and we’re all emerging from hibernation. By summer, we expect things to “pop” with artistic activity, street life, and optimism!” reads a press release. “We’re looking forward to business bustle, backyard barbecues, and popping-in to visit friends and neighbors. And so we’ve chosen “Pop!” for this year’s ArtBeat theme. Let’s celebrate all good things popping up—ideas, cultural trends, celebrations, flowers and new life. It’s time to come together as a community and leap, burst and explode with creativity. At this year’s ArtBeat Festival, expect pop-up performances, pop music (among other genres!), eye-popping dance, a healthy dose of pop art, and just about anything else that might pop up.”
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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.