Boston is a cultural hub for Massachusetts and New England.  Check here to find out what’s going on in Boston.

What cultural venues does Boston need?  Is Boston missing something that other cities have?

2 responses »

  1. When I first wanted to bring FIGMENT to Boston 3 years ago, the city parks department were hard to get, hostile, and generally unhelpful. The manager at the parks department in charge of events actually told me to go hold the event in a parking lot somewhere and stay out of the city parks.

    I ended up taking the event to Cambridge that first year. The difference was night and day – the city arts department was well-staffed, friendly, welcoming, and incredibly helpful. Unfortunately we needed more space than Cambridge has available anywhere so we couldn’t go back. The next year we were lucky enough to strike up a partnership with the Greenway, who helped us navigate the miserable bureaucracy to bring the event to Boston. Even with their help, the process was nearly unmanageable. I had to get 7 different permits, got quite literally yelled at multiple times by city special events staff, and ended up spending twice as much to have the event on this side of the Charles as it cost in Cambridge to meet Boston’s arcane regulations.

    It shouldn’t be this way. I shouldn’t have been told I couldn’t hold a free public art event in a city park by parks department employees. I shouldn’t have to befriend an insider group to hold an event. It shouldn’t cost me twice as much to hold an event in Boston as it does in Cambridge. The permitting process to put up on an event in a park shouldn’t involve months of paperwork, visits to 4 separate city buildings, 7 permits, and hundreds of dollars in fees. What there should be is a clear, logical, transparent process and timeline for holding an event in the city, whether it’s on private property or in a public park.

    This is just one example of how the city actively works to dissuade artists, creators, and culture from coming to Boston. I think there are plenty of models for how this could be done better. Somerville and Cambridge certainly seem to have a more functional process, and we should also be looking at how it works in other large cities to develop some best practices around holding cultural events.

    • Jason: We couldn’t agree more. This is exactly the kind of thing that we need to fix. It should be easier for new, creative events like yours to get off the ground in Boston.

      We’d love to hear more about your experience, and your ideas about what needs to change, and be sure to submit your ideas at our new site http://www.futureboston.com

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