en English
en Englishes Spanishpt Portuguesear Arabicht Haitian Creolezh-TW Chinese (Traditional)


Your Local Online News Source for Over 3 Decades

Vision for Beachmont arts center begins to take shape

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  To encourage and support Revere’s artistic side, the Public Arts Commission believes the city needs space where artists can produce and present work.

  The Commission met this week with staff from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to discuss ways to meet that need with the Beachmont Fire Station, which is on the way to becoming a public arts center for the city. Commission members, who were working on a concept plan for the center, feel there is a need for both studio and rehearsal space as well as performance and gallery space, both of which can be created in the empty fire station. The preservation of a historic city building for a new use is an added benefit of the project.

  The MAPC has awarded the city a $40,000 technical assistance grant to help launch the project. For the MAPC, the first step is surveying the city to understand what types of uses of the building are priorities for the Revere arts community, and what do residents hope to see.

  Commission member Brian Hawkins said it is important to focus on community-based art. “We’re about more than just putting murals on walls,” said Hawkins. “We want to develop our community.”

  The fire station, which has been empty for about 17 years and has been most recently used by the city for storage, underwent a structural and hazardous material assessment and was found to be in fair condition. But to create the commission’s vision of a performance or teaching space on the lower level, where fire engines were once kept, and the studio space on the upper level, will require some renovation for which the city will be responsible. MAPC staff, who have worked with other cities and towns on similar projects, said the city will need to hire an operator, possibly a nonprofit organization, to manage the center. MAPC staff suggested the building would be leased to an operator with a set of criteria. However, with the city chasing every spare dime to build a new high school, it’s not clear when that may happen.

  “This is definitely going to happen,” said Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna. “It might take a year, it may take five years, but it will happen.”

  The next step is to test the assumptions of the commission about uses for the building. The commission is also looking for ways to gather community input to better understand what residents want and expect from a public arts center. Surveys, focus groups, a public meeting and individual interviews are all being planned. A concept plan is expected to be complete by June.

  While the arts center is primarily meant to serve Revere artists and residents, the center is also an opportunity to make Revere an arts destination that showcases the city. Building and supporting the arts community is often seen as a path for economic development.

  Hawkins stressed that Revere has a wide range of working artists and a richly diverse community to tap into. “Across the board, we’ve got people who are gifted artists,” he said. “We’re a city of creators.”

Contact Advocate Newspapers