The Somerville Arts Council held two initial charrettes (November 2013 and March 2014) on the design of ArtFarm with 73 participants. Participants pointed to Somerville’s extremely limited public performance and gallery space—a 900 seat theater used primarily for movies, a 395 multi-purpose room at the Armory, one room in a church (the Nave Gallery), one room in a house (the Nave Annex) and two display windows in a CVS. They also called for space that was flexible, combined form and function, and took a broad view of what art really is.
During a second round of public meetings held during the winter and spring of 2015, more than 300 residents, non-profit organizations, civic groups, and local government representatives participated in seven planning and design meetings. The outcome of these meetings established four core principles by which ArtFarm’s utility is grounded to serve the Somerville community : economic development, community utility, arts and culture, and environmental stability.
Environment and Sustainability
On January 16th, 2015, we held our first working group meeting to examine our core principles. This meeting was held with individuals and representative from organizations engaged with environmental and sustainability concerns within Somerville. A great first meeting. Here are the notes and visual scribing by Kelvy Bird.
Arts and Culture
Our second working group meeting on core principals was held on a nice cold evening, February 16th, 2015. This meeting brought together individuals across Somerville involved with arts and culture. Sharon Lacey, a local artist, also shared examples of engaging organizations and individuals from London to start a conversation about how ArtFarm could be positioned with the City and region. Notes are here.
For our third community meeting held on Tuesday, March 24, we met to review our core principals concerning Community Utility. Here are the notes and more of Kelvy’s great scribing work.
Our fourth and final working group meeting was held on May 28th, 2015. We had a small but very committed turnout, and were able to have a focused conversation on aspects of Economic Development. Review the notes from the meeting here .
In addition to serving broader SomerVision goals, the site is poised to add community gardens to a network of gardens aimed at public engagement with the landscape. In addition, partnerships with Shape Up Somerville and Groundwork Somerville continue to strengthen through initiatives focused on “global foods,” which will work directly with local immigrant growers to ensure local food is grown at the ArtFarm and distributed to communities in Somerville.