What is ArtFarm?
ArtFarm is an experiment. ArtFarm is Somerville’s proposal for our next great public space: a self-sustaining art and urban agriculture laboratory designed to foster community engagement and creativity. Located on the site of a former Waste Transfer Station in Somerville’s Brickbottom neighborhood, ArtFarm will activate a site in transition by creating a platform for programs and solutions that harness the creative energy of our City: arts, green technology, culinary entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, and community-building activities to enrich the experience of living in Somerville and the greater metropolitan region. Through strategic event planning and creative design, ArtFarm will allow for a new type of flexible and versatile urban space that is responsive to community needs and long-term neighborhood plans. The coexistence of three major components—a cultural community space, revitalized landscapes, and urban agricultural resources—support an agenda to provide an adjustable, year-round destination as future decisions about the site and its surroundings continue to evolve.
The current site plan forms an expansive and evolving open space capable of handling events from the Somerville Arts Council’s Tiny House Festival and PorchFest to farmers’ markets and a reinterpretation of the successful Meet Under the McGrath party. Its variety of uses and accessibility opens up a large tract of land for daily informal gatherings, play, and recreation by residents of Somerville and other visitors. In this way, ArtFarm is envisioned to be an incubator for the arts, the neighborhood, and the larger community of Somerville.
Rooted in the aspirations of SomerVision, ArtFarm will add much needed, and programmable open space, increase recognition of Somerville as a center of arts and creativity, and ensure that Somerville has a mix of spaces for creative production, performance and exhibition, and that art is incorporated into the built environment. ArtFarm will enable local arts institutions to succeed, network and grow, and establish a self-sustaining, healthy and attractive public realm that fosters community connection.
Sustainability plays a key role in the project, and ArtFarm will be a living lab for urban sustainable thinking, engaging the community in a variety of ecological strategies. The project is designed with efficiency in mind, utilizing site remediation, rainwater collection, strategic de-paving, and a large vegetated air-quality buffer. The proposed ArtBarn will embrace low-energy heating systems, passive cooling strategies, and conditioned spaces that are flexible, requiring minimal space for maximal use.