Advocacy Toolbox

Public Comment

Talking points, ready? Let’s workshop…
You have a total of 3 minutes to speak at public comment, how can you make your voice have as much impact as it actually can?
To start off, signup for public comment here:
Be sure to write out what you are going to say, and submit it for public record by emailing it to:
Let’s focus on a few things:
Touch upon how you earn your income from activities related to teaching, rehearsing, performing, etc. in Cambridge. Do you rely on arts organizations for those activities? Thinking on the other end, how do you help area businesses in this ecosystem? Think about the performances that happen here for instance, how many of your audience members go out for drinks or some dinner before/after your show? After/before your class? Rehearsal?
What art-related culture do you bring to the square? Traditional arts? Contemporary arts? All exchange of these interactions between students/teachers, rehearsal directors/performers, performers/audiences provide an enormous amount of cultural wealth which makes the social web and heart of the square beat. It’s why people are attracted to an area, in this case, Cambridge and/or Central Sq.
Small Businesses
If you are creating, working, exchanging money with your artistic activities you more than likely are operating a small business of some sort. it either is a sole proprietorship (you use your name and SSN for the business), non profit, S Corp, C Corp, DBA, or any other myriad of business structures to define how you operate. As a small business you contribute to the economy and stimulate economic activity in the City/square. Talk about your arts business just the same as if you operated a brick and mortar.
Share your history with the square/City. How has your art depended on location, specifically Cambridge? Transportation options available (public transit and parking). For artistic exchange at the “crossroads”, transportation is pinnacle to making it possible. Or, maybe you have built history here watching how the landscape has changed? What was your role in this change? How has your relationship with the City/Square changed due to gentrification and development?
I think that’s enough to get you started. Also, letters are also great! If you can’t make it to public comment be sure to write the City Council CCing the City Clerk before the start of the meeting 5:30, Sept 14. emails are:, PM me if there is anything you are stuck on.
To signup for public comment is open now until 6pm on Monday, Sept. 14:
meeting overview

Meeting Overview Meeting #1

We talked about the existing immediate relief needed for non-profit arts organizations that are not in operation due to COVID-19 and need assistance in the form of a policy order amending the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund to include non-profit arts organizations. This is slated to be heard at the City Council’s next regular meeting on Sept. 14. This order was tabled in last month’s meeting due to Councilor Simmon’s using her charter right before roll call.
We are slated to having MassCreative host a petition outlining the support of this policy order and adding additional longer-term items to it. Including:
Enact a property tax abatement for landlords and owners who lease to artists and arts and cultural organizations. Tie these property tax reductions to rental relief for those tenants.
Require a minimum percentage of arts spaces with new developments (modeling after affordable housing requirements).
Move discussions forward with local arts leaders, City planners, and outside experts to construct a “cultural plan” for the City to keep the legacy of Central Square Arts alive for years to come.
Explore ways to create new, permanent art spaces and secure existing facilities (including through the issuance of a municipal bond to support the acquisition and dedication of a municipal building for arts use).
This is still in draft mode, and if anyone would like to weigh in on the language or another “ask”, please comment here.
I also announced the launch of a public art/advocacy initiative which will take the words, images, and videos of the arts community and project them on to the West side of the Dance Complex from Studio@550’s roofdeck (dates and times TBA). Application will be rolling. To apply, please follow the link below. Please SHARE this widely. We need as many voices as possible!
Thirdly, we agreed that adding councilors to our mailing lists and keeping in touch not only with emergency situations, but also when things are moving along well. To show them what we are doing as artists and keeping them abreast of our work.



Rules keep aid for arts nonprofits off the agenda for another five weeks of coronavirus shutdown


Council delay in assistance for arts nonprofits looks fatal for at least one, and others worry