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Somerville Counts Artists To Build A Case For Culture: Take The Survey

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“Only New York has more artists per capita than the city of Somerville,” the Massachusetts city proudly proclaims on its website.

But as the MBTA’s Green Line train extends to Somerville and pressure for new housing and additional development in the community grows, one of the questions is where do these artists, musicians, writers, jewelry designers and so on fit in?

So the Somerville Arts Council has launched an online survey for creative types living or working in the city “to understand the needs of the creative community and identify points of leverage for policy intervention.” You can fill it out here. The deadline to take part is Dec. 9.

The 12-question survey asks about the type of creative work people do, income, employees, and the space people use for living and working. Data will be tabulated and examined by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis.

Somerville clearly is a livelier place because of all the creative folks who choose to live there. “Part of it is how do you tell that story?” says Gregory Jenkins, executive director of city art agency. “How do we demonstrate the wealth of this creative cluster?”

The art council’s answer is to develop the sort of numbers and dollars argument that’s the lingua franca of politicians and economic development directors.

“Just to demonstrate how many people in Somerville are involved in the ‘creative industry’ is a big thing,” Jenkins says.

Follow Greg Cook on Twitter @AestheticResear.

This program aired on November 27, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Greg Cook Twitter Arts Reporter
Greg Cook was an arts reporter and critic for WBUR's The ARTery.

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