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Greetings to all. I am honored to have been asked to write for Big Red & Shiny, and rather than duplicate my FYI column in artsMEDIA, I am going to write a column that addresses timely public policy and legislative issues that impact working artists. This serves my personal interest in public policy (I have a BA in Economics with a specialization in public policy) as well as the Artists Foundation’s mission and more specifically the AF’s on line project, the Creative Alliance. 

So what is the Creative Alliance? It was founded by the Artists Foundation as an on-line project that is non partisan and is dedicated to empowering artists to become part of the public policy dialogue on issues that directly impact their livelihoods. The Creative Alliance (CA) also works to educate policy makers and advocacy groups on the unique needs of the artist community. The Creative Alliance does not endorse political candidates for office or political parties.

By joining the Artists Foundation free list serve you will be alerted to legislation, initiatives, policy models, and other organizations that are relevant to and are impacting working artists in Massachusetts and beyond.

We hope to give artists, and those who care about artists, the tools needed to become empowered artist advocacy citizens.


Presently, I would like to inform readers about a Boston legislative home rule petition initiative by Boston City Councillor Michael P. Ross: the Percent for the Art Program in the City of Boston. As the Weekly Dig reported in December 2005, this piece of legislation passed the Boston City Council unanimously and is now on the Mayor's desk as they say. Mayor Menino is looking it over and has yet to sign it.

The Purpose of the Bill as stated in the ordinance is a follows:

It is the purpose of this ordinance to dedicate one percent (1%) of the total cost of construction and renovation in the City of Boston to the funding of the creation, development, selection, acquisition, commissioning, placement, display, and/or maintenance of Public Art.

Basically any developer in the City of Boston who is developing a project of over 50,000 square feet will be required to give 1 percent of that project’s total development costs- up to $150,000 - towards the city’s public art program. Or if the developer gets written permission from the Boston Arts Commission, they can give a public work of art equal to the amount they would have been required to give to the City’s public art program.

The PDF full text of the ordinance is available to those wishing to read it in its entirety.

What needs to be done now is to urge the Mayor to sign the ordinance.

Written letters are best to send to the Mayor and then follow up with a phone call and/or an email to his office. Letters written by Boston residents are best, but even those outside of Boston should feel free to write, since this legislation will also help artists living outside of Boston.

The contact info:

The Honorable Thomas M. Menino, Mayor
City of Boston
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201



After the Mayor signs the bill, like any home rule petition, it has to be approved by the State Legislature- so keep tuned to this column and sign up for the AF’s Free List serve to keep informed on this ordinance.

Next up: Why every artist should know who all their elected officials are.

The Creative Alliance
Artists Foundation

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