Somerville, MA–With the community’s strong support, the Center for Arts at the Armory (CAA) exceeded its goal of 1,000 signatures on a petition related to the Armory Master Plan within a 30 day window.
As promised, CAA has presented the petition results, the recording of the August 15th Community Meeting, and an accompanying letter to the Mayor, Somerville City Council, Somerville Arts Council, the Armory Master Plan consultant Create Today, and the Somerville Armory Master Plan Advisory Committee.
Over a month has passed since the August 15th Community Meeting, and CAA leadership has not received any communication from City of Somerville administration on the matter. Two orders and one resolution related to the Armory building and the Armory Master Plan were placed by Ward 5 City Councilor Bea Gomez-Mouakad at the August 24, 2023 City Council meeting. These orders will be discussed tomorrow, September 20th, at the Housing and Community Development Committee Meeting at 6pm. Click here to tune into the meeting.
The petition created by Arts at the Armory and signed by 1,130 people urges the City of Somerville to do the following:
● abandon the proposed model 1 for the Armory building (City as owner and operator model)
● adopt a 3rd party operator model
● issue RFPs for a 3rd party operator and for prospective Armory arts/culture
● create an Armory governance model
A year into its ownership of the Armory building, the City instituted an Armory Master Planning Process and hired a consultant team, Create Today, based out of New York, to guide this process. With the Master Planning Process now underway for over a year, the City and Create Today presented for consideration two models for the future of the Armory building. Model 1 proposes “the City as owner and operator” of the Armory building, giving the City full control of the building and its programming. In this model, the Center for Arts at the Armory would be dissolved, and other current Armory tenants would also need to vacate. Model 2 is dubbed
“Multiple Tenants,” which proposes the City as the building manager that rents spaces to chosen artists or arts organizations/business, and is similar to how the Armory has existed for nearly 20 years, with the exception that the City would remain as building manager and choose who can occupy the building to fill their chosen arts mandate. During Armory Master Plan community meetings held by the City of Somerville in July/August, City officials had taken the 3rd Party Operator model off the table. CAA and others are now urging City officials to reconsider the omission of the 3rd Party Operator model, and to involve current arts tenants, including CAA, in future plans related to the Armory building.
The recording of the August 15, 2023 community meeting convened by Arts at the Armory can be found here, along with the link to the full petition, public commentary, and links to recent articles in the press covering this story.
The Center for Arts at the Armory is located at 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143. To learn more please visit our website, artsatthearmory.org, our Facebook page, and follow us on Instagram at @ArtsattheArmory. Join our mailing list here.