Over the past year, there has been a lot of talk in and about Lynn and its Arts and Cultural District.
Behind the scenes, there are city officials, admins, and community organizers pulling together a picture of what they would like the Lynn downtown Arts and Cultural District to look like.
We've heard that there are to be shops, and galleries, and artist live / work spaces (33 Central is on its way to being developed as an artist live work space), and more upscale restaurants and eateries. Thing is, none of it works if the artists aren't here making work for the galleries, and the buyers aren't here buying art from the galleries to keep them afloat, or if there are no interesting venues and supportive businesses for the artists. SO how do we get the businesses until we get the arts scene going, and how do we get the arts scene going without the businesses?
Luckily, we have Turbine Wine Bar, whose owner was a part of starting the Arts After Hours event series by running the bar, offering insight into how to run the events, offering his venue for the after parties, helping to promote the events in his establishment, and even auctioning off a piece of his own art work at the first Lynn's Got Sole event (which was purchased by the lovely Jennifer Adler of Providence). He has also jumped on board to host the socials. Once a month, Turbine Wine Bar is going to be hosting an arts social, to keep the artists connected, keep the buzz about the downtown Lynn Arts and Cultural District, which began at the Turbine Wine Bar with the EDIC's public meetings, alive and moving forward.
We had our first social last month with over forty people showing up for the night. It was a great turnout for the first event, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This month, we have Dan Levine from Somerville coming up to lay down some beats for us while we network, socialize, have a glass of wine, etc.
Dan will be bringing a host of percussion instruments, from djembe to a digital drum pad and more, mixing it up and keeping it lively for us. I first met Dan when I was in grad school and had to interview a musician for a class. He brought his drums over, showed my kids a few traditional African beats, then busted out recordings of his own music. I got lost in the beats. He also banged on the djembe at my backyard graduation party, drawing applause from people hanging out in their yards all around my house. I can't wait for you to hear him play!
The trick of getting the arts alive is getting life into the district. We need to break the mold a little bit. No, we need to break the mold A LOT. So often, even the most forward thinking ideas fall into the same old trap of institutionalized programming. While we need to support that programming, as it creates a reliable backbone for the arts and entry points for people who need to still get comfortable with the arts as a staple in their life, we need to bring more innovation into the square. We, as artists, need to not wait to be asked to the table and make our own table.
This next artists social, I'm calling you all to create the table. What is YOUR vision? What are YOU working on? Me, I'm working on getting back to the studio and focusing on my own work, but that's a solitary practice. I would love to bounce some of my ideas for my body of work off of ya, if you're up for it. I also went to see a few good shows this past weekend in Boston that I would love talk about with some kindred spirits over a glass of Kung Fu Girl.
After all of the work of the past few years with the gallery, LynnArts, and Arts After Hours, I've come to rely on the social aspect of the arts to fill my cup and keep me going. I need the socials, and now that I'm doing my own thing again, I need YOU to keep me going. So, yes, I am stepping back into the studio, but I'm also not going to stop supporting or promoting those people who have supported me over the years, and I just can't go off into the woods and go hermit. That's not me, you all know that.
Some come on out and play with me! Dan might even let you tap on a drum if you ask nicely or buy him a beer.
For more info about the event, and to rsvp: go here