The Public Arts Commission is back up and at their core mission of transforming the old Beachmont Fire Station into a community arts center. The future of the arts center seemed to be in doubt when former Mayor Brian Arrigo appeared to have a falling out with Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna, basically squashing the future of the art center project. But plans are moving forward.
As part of the process, the commission is continuing to seek public input on what residents would like to see at the arts center and the city as a whole. The commission has been holding community meetings with the help of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to ensure the plans to bolster the local arts community are inclusive. For those who cannot attend meetings, there is a survey on the commission’s webpage at www.revere.org/boards-and-commissions/public-arts-commission.
At their recent meeting in May, the commission turned its attention to fundraising. The Beachmont Fire Station will need extensive renovations before it can open its doors to performances and exhibits.
Commission Member Brian Harkins proposed holding a silent online auction that would allow local artists to offer lessons, performances and works of art to bidders.
“That would be a great opportunity for local artists to get their work out there,” said Elle Baker, the city’s open space and environmental planner, who has been working with the commission.
Harkins also felt it was important to engage the business community in the drive to create the arts center and to hold public events to capture community interest. The commission intends to work with the city to see what resources would be available for such efforts.
New Commission Member Asha Waterhouse, who brings a wealth of public arts experience from his former hometown, Quincy, said “all art starts in the neighborhoods.”
While other commission members agreed, they questioned if building a Revere arts community differs from the mission of the Public Arts Commission, which was initially launched to promote public art installations, such as murals. The commission had a mural and an artist lined up, but the available space wasn’t adequate. The search is on for new designs and spaces.