Date(s) - Tue. Aug. 15, 2023
On Tuesday, August 15 from 7-9pm, the Center for Arts at the Armory will be hosting a community meeting during which we will:
- share our perspective on the City of Somerville’s “Armory Master Plan Process”
- educate our audience about our non-profit arts organization
- and provide opportunities for attendees to speak, ask questions, and have the meeting recording and petition delivered to City government.
Meeting Details and Virtual Participation Option
The meeting will be recorded. While participants will have the option to deactivate their cameras, by participating in the Zoom meeting, you are giving your consent to be recorded and be projected on screen at the in-person meeting. The Zoom meeting and the in-person meeting will be running simultaneously and we will be making an effort to create an inclusive and cohesive meeting. The Zoom meeting will be projected on the screen in the Armory Performance Hall. Virtual participants will have the opportunity to make public commentary live streamed at the in-person meeting. All commentators will be limited to 2 minutes. Virtual participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Dear friends and supporters of Arts at the Armory,
The Center for Arts at the Armory needs your support. Please join us for an important community meeting on August 15, 2023 at 7pm in the Performance Hall. This meeting is an opportunity for us, the Center for Arts at the Armory, to present ourselves to our community–our mission, leadership, business plan, events, programs, services and successes. We want to educate our community about what our organization does and what the community would lose if our organization dissolves. Ultimately we want you, our community members, to decide for yourselves how you believe you will best be served by the Armory. We will also be presenting ways in which you can engage with this process and make your voice heard. Thank you for your ongoing support and your engagement with our organization at this critical juncture.
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 recently presented just two models that are being considered 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 with the exception that the City would choose who can occupy the building to fill their chosen arts mandate. While we do not support either model proposed to go forward in the Armory Master Plan Process, the second model at least does not make us obsolete, but still leaves our future in question. Our only hope of survival is the rejection of Model 1–the “City as owner and operator” and we need everyone’s support on this.
The Center for Arts at the Armory is an independent, non-profit organization that resides in a historic Armory building, serving Somerville and the Greater Boston community through arts, cultural and community performances, events, exhibitions, markets, classes and more.
The mission of Arts at the Armory is to provide an inclusive and accessible venue that creates opportunities for artists and cultural workers, brings diverse audiences together, enriches and transforms lives, and promotes the creative economy. In addition to the many events that CAA hosts that are produced independently of CAA, CAA has five signature programs: The Spotlight Series, The Performance Opportunity Program (POP), The Somerville Winter Farmers Market, The Feet Keep the Beat Festival and ROOTED Armory Cafe Visual Arts Exhibitions.
The repurposed Armory opened its doors as a community arts center in 2008, and Arts at the Armory became the anchor tenant in the building, operating the Performance Hall and Cafe. Arts at the Armory hosts 750+ events each year in disciplines including music, dance, theater, literary arts, visual arts, film, circus, comedy and more. Arts at the Armory provides free and accessibly priced venues to performing arts, cultural and community groups of Greater Boston. The Arts at the Armory Performance Hall and Cafe also provide a vast and inspiring panorama of arts and cultural events to audiences throughout the year. Arts at the Armory hosts dozens of markets each year, including our own Somerville Winter Farmers Market, which promote the creative economy, local businesses and community economic development. Both the Cafe and the Hall are available for private rentals.
The Armory was purchased by Joseph and Nabil Sater, in collaboration with Highland Armory Realty Trust (HART), from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $2.6 million in April 2004. The Saters brought the building up to code and preserved the historical details, and reopened the building as an arts and community center in 2008, with the Center for Arts at the Armory as the anchor tenant. Due to financial pressures and other factors during the pandemic, some Armory tenants left the building and the building owner sought to rent the Performance Hall to a commercial entity. In May of 2021, the City of Somerville acquired the Armory building by eminent domain to preserve the building for arts uses.
Stephanie Scherpf, Co-Director / CEO
Jess White, Co-Director / COO
Hathalee Higgs, Board President
Neil Berman, Board Member
Ruth Faris, Board Member
Ivan Abarca, Board Member
Amanda Klein, Board Member