February 1st Friday 6pm. Kick Off for Chelsea Black History Month Activities
456 – Store Front Exhibit of Black
Historical Figures of Chelsea
456 Broadway, Chelsea, MA
of Exhibit at Chelsea Public Library:
Black Migration, WWI,
Chelsea Fire. 569 Broadway, Chelsea, MA
February 5th Tuesday
5 – 7pm. City Hall Art Reception.
Art, Poetry, African and African
American Artifacts. Chelsea City Hall, 500
Broadway, Chelsea, MA
February 7thThursday 12pm and 6pm. Bunker
Hill Community College, “Tuskeegee
and Discussion. 70 Everett Avenue,
5pm. Iglesia la Luz de Cristo. The Councilors Cook Off
Dinner. 738 Broadway, Chelsea, MA
February 21st Thursday 12pm.
Senior Center – Maya Angelou – Poet and Civil Rights
Figure. Celebration of Phenominal Women
10 Riley Way, Chelsea, MA
February 22nd Friday
6 – 8pm. Evening of Performing Arts,
Clark Avenue School
8 Clark Avenue, Chelsea, MA
February 23rd Saturday 11 – 12:30pm. STEM, Chelsea
569 Broadway, Chelsea, MA (parent and
6 – 8pm. New England Gospel Ensemble
Bunker Hill Community College, Charlestown
Campus A300 Auditorium
February 28th Wednesday 5 – 8pm. Black
History Month Celebration
Speaker – Suffolk District Attorney Rachael
Special Recognition Honoring – “Chelsea Trailblazers”
Williams Middle School. 180 Walnut Street,
ALL EVENTS PLANNED IN COLLABORATION WITH CHELSEA
BLACK COMMUNITY, BLACK HISTORY MONTH PLANNING COMMITTEE, LEWIS H. LATIMER
SOCIETY, BUNKER HILL COMMUNITY COLLEGE, CHELSEA SENIOR CENTER, CHELSEA PUBLIC
SCHOOLS, CITY OF CHELSEA.
This program is supported in part by a grant
from the Chelsea Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the
Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
A recent Chelsea Community Workshop on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) witnessed a vibrant community come out to speak about future investments they want to see in their respective neighborhoods, and the newly-established Community Preservation Committee (CPC) said they are there to help residents accomplish those goals.
Taking place in the main room of Chelsea’s senior center, residents poured in at on Sept. 27, and listen to local committee members present the growing potential of tax revenues collected as part of the CPA, which was passed in Nov. 2016 by Chelsea voters. To date, there has yet to be any projects designated for development by CPA funds.
Jennifer Goldson, founder and Managing Director for JM Goldson, presented the main purpose of the community workshop. Goldson presented the most viable options to the community and get them the most for their money’s worth, while also collecting their opinions on the matter to engage the community’s wants directly.
“We have to prioritize how we use that money and be smart about it,” Goldson said.
Goldson said an estimated $1.46 million has been collected from taxpayers for the CPA in 2017-18, and is available for future investment possibilities.
The CPA, which was passed with 66.5 percent of the vote, allows Chelsea to have direct control over tax revenue collected through residential and commercial properties at a rate of 1.5 percent, which is also matched by state government assistance. This new tax revenue requires a 10 percent commitment to three categories: historic preservation, community housing, along with open space and outdoor recreation programs.
Totaling 30 percent for these three mandatory categories, the CPC presented varying ideas to the community about how they’d best like to allot the remaining 70 percent.
“As time goes on the priorities of our communities change,” Jose Iraheta, chair of the CPC stated as he greeted the crowd in both English and Spanish, adding “We really need your help to pick between the three brackets.”
Iraheta addressed those in attendance coming in by asking them to tally a total of seven points into the three categories presented for allocating the appropriate tax funds for Chelsea to choose from. Residents walked up to tally their choices with the overwhelming majority of these votes going to community housing funding.
Voting for specific returns in the community proved popular amongst those in attendance, with Goldson conducting a series of small polls to gauge what the public felt was most necessary to invest in from each of the three categories. Additionally, Goldson also asked everyone in attendance to write down their ideas on the paper table covers in order to later collect them and determine which ideas were most eligible.
Presented in a matrix of potential possibilities Goldson displayed a few of the options residents could choose to focus on, including: new housing, home ownership programs, preferences for low-income families, stewardship of historic buildings, creating community gardens or waterfront access, improving existing parks, and preservation of natural resources.
Bea Cravatta, director of Chelsea’s Recreation and Cultural Affairs division, collected information about the demographics of the meeting through a 10 question poll.
“Great turnout today, a good mix of ages, profound interest, and collaboration has been the most exciting thing for me to see,” Cravatta said.
During the last half hour, residents were allowed to take the microphone to represent each table they were sitting at.
Some residents, like former City Councillor Matthew Frank, raised valid concerns.
“Instead of creating new open space, we need to clean up what we already have,” Frank stated in reference to existing open space problems the City already has on the Harbor Walk and other locations.
The CPC must present any and all ideas before City Council for approval after creating a Community Development Plan. The City Council retains the power to approve, deny or lower the allotted funds for project ideas.
The CPC will convene again in November at a date to be announced, and will present their viable future investment options in December.
Chelsea Cultural Council has received $21,900 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) a state agency, to assist public projects that promote access, education, diversity and excellence in the arts, humanities and sciences.
Council members will be available to discuss grant procedure and guidelines on Monday, September 24 from 2-6 p.m. in the lobby of the Williams Building, 180 Walnut Street.
Organizations, schools, individuals are encouraged to apply for grant funds that can be used to support a variety of artistic and cultural projects that benefit citizens in Chelsea – including field trips, exhibits, festivals, short-term arts residencies or performances in schools as well as cultural workshops and lectures. Projects awarded must be implemented between January, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
The deadline for completed Online Application must be received by October 15, 2018.
Online Application is available at www.mass-culture.org/chelsea. Guidelines can be picked up at Chelsea City Hall, Dept. of Health & Human Services, Room 100 or find it at www.chelseama.gov/ccc. For additional information call (617) 466-4090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to the U.S. border crisis, and the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the Trump Administration’s travel ban for some Muslim countries, local community leader Veronica Robles has decided to host an uplifting celebration of all cultures that call East Boston and America home.
The Veronica Robles Cultural Center will presents the first annual Uniting Borders Multicultural Festival, a festival for everyone, this Saturday, June 30 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Suffolk Downs.
“The goal with this festival is to gather as community and highlight local talent and grassroots organizations to celebrate the diverse and rich cultures of our city,” said Robles. “As part of the ceremony we will offer the Ethnic Award to East Boston and Chelsea Police Departments, The Harborkeepers, Chelsea Police Department and the Jossour Moroccan Association of Revere.”
The event will feature 2005 Billboard’s Artist of the Year, Domenic Marte, and the Moroccan band, Stars of Boston, as well as thrity other local performers of music, songs and ethnic dance.
Activities for children will include bouncy houses, arts and crafts, magicians, clowns and more. “And you can’t have a multicultural event without food,” joked Robles. “Food will include tacos, arepas, hotdogs, pizza and food trucks North East of the Border and Perros Paisa, and Los Chamos.”
Robles said the program will kickoff at 12 p.m. with youth talent and dance groups including Yorgelis Williams La Voz Kids, Jossue “El Rancherito de Oro” La Voz Kids, Sebastián Medina, Alexander Taborda, Tomas Mira, the Veronica Robles Cultural Center Dancers and many more.
“Live bands will hit the stage at 1:30 p.m. starting with the pop band Karina Rae pop band, followed by the Moroccan band, Stars of Boston,” said Robles. “They will be followed by Jimador Musical a Mexican Norteño band, Grupo Los Nítidos a Salvadoran Music band, Eduardo Betancourt and Carolina Montes a Venezuelan Ensemble, Con Sabor Colombiano from Colombia, Na Bangela from Brazil and Panadictos, a Spanish rockband.”
Tickets are $20 if purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/multicultural-fest-uniting-borders-tickets-46871222087 or $25 at the door. Children under 12 and seniors are free.
Amateur and professional photographers of any age are invited to participate in the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest, with this being the last week to enter submissions.
The contest is presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s initiative for vitality in the downtown, and the Facebook group Chelsea MA Photography Club coordinated by photographer and former City Councillor Matt Frank.
The deadline to apply is next Thursday, May 31 and the group is eager to see the community’s contributions. To apply or for more information visit:https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea.
The organizers seek images that capture the richness of life in this dynamic city.
“What people, places and things tell you that you are home? What image serves as invitation for others to visit Bellingham Square, Chelsea Square, Broadway? What does Chelsea mean to you? Everyone sees the city through a different lens, and we want you to show us your view!” they declare.
Entries will be accepted until May 31, 2018 via the contest website at https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea. An illustrious panel of judges will then select multiple winners in the categories of Local Business; The People of Chelsea; Community; and Chelsea, Past and Present. The panel will nominate a slate of finalists for a People’s Choice award to be determined via popular votes on the Chelsea MA Photography Club Facebook page.
All of the top images will be reproduced in large print format and displayed in the new storefront gallery, Gallery 456, coming soon to the former Salvation Army store on Broadway. At the conclusion of the summer-time exhibit the winners will take home their high-quality, framed images with the Best in Show and People’s Choice winners receiving additional prizes.
The judging panel includes:
Darlene DeVita, an award-winning fine art photographer who specializes in portraits that capture the energy and humanity of her subjects. Her creative eye, patience, humor and unobtrusiveness have made her one the most sought after photographers in Greater Boston. Between photographing weddings and exploring her fine art world, Darlene shoots portraits at her studio in Chelsea. She was Co-Director of the Gallery@Spencer Lofts for fourteen years, served as a member of the Chelsea Cultural Council and is a co-founder of CHARCOLL (Chelsea Artists Collaborative).
Matt Frank is a life-long resident of Chelsea and served on the Chelsea City Council for ten years after four years on the Planning Board. His government, non-profit and community based work focuses on policy and project based initiatives that serve the public interest. His interest in communications and community building combined with a deep appreciation of the beauty of city life led Matt to pursue an interest in photography. Matt captures our beloved city with a painterly eye as he celebrates the colors, textures and moods of Chelsea’s ever-changing landscape.
Roselee Vincent holds the16th Suffolk District Seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, comprised of the communities of Revere, Chelsea and Saugus. A champion for the arts, Rep Vincent served on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, giving her an opportunity to visit with arts advocates across the state and learn how the arts are vital to local economies across the Commonwealth.
Sury Chavez, a painter, was born in Los Angeles but spent much of her childhood in her ancestral home of Guatemala. While East Boston is where she now resides, the colors, flora and fauna of Central America continue to inspire her work. Local businesses, The Cuscatlan, Bella Isla Express and Pan y Café, have partnered with Sury for decorative murals and menu boards and she’s working with Chelsea’s Beautification Committee to illustrate “Welcome to Chelsea” signs for key locations throughout the city.
Marianne Ramos is a self-taught “outsider artist” who believes everyone can express themselves through art. A resident of Chelsea for the past 35 years, she serves as Program Coordinator for the Chelsea Senior Center. What began out of economic necessity became the foundation of her artistic philosophy as Marianne embraces a Do-it-Yourself approach and environmental stewardship through the use of recycled and non-toxic materials. An extension of her civic involvement, Marianne’s works are typically presented in settings that foster community building.
Beyond the photography exhibit on Broadway, all submitted photographs will contribute to a collection of images for the promotion of the City of Chelsea as a great place to live and to visit. Submitted photos will become part of a collection of images for use by the City in materials like municipal reports, the city website and informational brochures.
For the second time in its 70-year history, the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra (NSPO) will follow the direction of a female conductor when Marshunda Smith guest conducts the Orchestra’s Winter Concert on Sunday, Feb. 25, at Swampscott High School.
Smith, a long-time cellist with the NSPO, will ascend the conductor’s podium as Music Director Robert Lehmann begins a sabbatical for the remainder of this season. As an African-American female, Smith’s appearance is particularly rare in orchestral music.
Smith will conduct a program themed on music inspired by the works of famed English writer William Shakespeare, including Felix Mendelsohn’s “Incidental Music from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’” and Hector Berlioz’ enchanting “Love Theme from ‘Romeo and Juliet.” The program also includes Robert Shumann’s “Julius Caesar Overture” and William Walton’s “Two Pieces from Henry V.”
Even in today’s day and age, female conductors are rare in classical music. A 2015 report on Classical-music.com, the official magazine of BBC Music Magazine, commented “The question ‘Why aren’t there more women conductors?’ remains as relevant in today’s music industry as it always has been.”
The article noted recent studies revealed that barely 5 percent of conductors of the world’s leading orchestra’s were female. While females are slowly becoming prominent on the world stage, it is likely that smaller groups such as the NSPO will be a primary showcase in the immediate future.
“We are especially pleased that Marshunda aspired to this opportunity to conduct,” NSPO President Robert Marra Jr. said. “Most rewarding is that she is ‘one of our own’ as she has been an outstanding and dedicated musician and has assisted Dr. Lehmann for the past several years as she developed her conducting skills. When Mr. Lehmann announced his sabbatical that created two opportunities for a guest conductor this season, we were eager to have Marshunda fill one of those spots.”
A native of Tennessee, Smith holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She completed her master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting with an emphasis in music education at the University of Southern Maine, under the Dr. Lehmann’s tutelage.
Tickets to the concert can be purchased at the door, $25 and $20 for seniors and students. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.nspo.org.
The North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra plays three subscription concerts at Swampscott High School. The 2017-2018 season marks the Orchestra’s 70th anniversary. The Orchestra is supported in part by a grant from the Swampscott Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. For more information about the NSPO, visit the Orchestra’s website at www.nspo.org. or on Facebook.
Marisa Yee, 6, painting on the ice at the Cronin Skating Rink during the first New Year’s Eve Paint & Skate event on Sunday afternoon, an event put on by the Chelsea Recreational and Cultural Division. The event was a great success and many Chelsea families enjoyed the afternoon.
Reclaimed space is at an all-time high in today’s modern cities, and Chelsea is leading the way this month with the soon-to-be unveiled Mystic River Overlook Park – a rare stretch of City-owned parcels under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge that have been transformed into a funky new park.
The space was long a construction staging yard and was highly contaminated, but it has been environmentally remediated and now walking paths, historic lighting and lush green grass have replaced the blight under the bridge near Admiral’s Hill.
“We spent a lot of money cleaning the site up,” said Alex Train, City planner. “We took out a lot of soil and construction debris and contamination. We trucked in lots of clean soil and replaced it…We tried to create a design philosophy that tended to mimic the edges in the architecture of the bridge, so there are three or four wavy walking paths that curve through the park and allow you walk through and under the bridge. We envision this as an active park for exercise.”
The City has placed cross-fit equipment in the new park, and envision the lush new lawn to be used for Yoga, exercise classes or other activities.
The remainder of the new park is more of a passive area with seats and areas to view the water and Boston skyline. Another City-owned parcel at the foot of the new park has been designated for the City’s first off-leash dog park. That, however, is a separate project from the Mystic River Overlook.
“We are now about two weeks away from opening the Overlook and just trying to tie up the loose ends,” said Train. “We were able to bring it in under the allotted budget as well.”
One of the action items for the near future of the park is to identify some public art opportunities. All over Greater Boston, cities are using spaces under bridges and highways as hip, urban landscapes for public art.
In Chelsea, a small piece of that was delved into last year with a small mural at the Everett Avenue onramp courtesy of the organization of Chelsea artists like Joe Greene.
Train said he hopes to have something more expansive in the Overlook.
“We are contemplating public art opportunities there,” he said. “It’s definitely a funky terrain and it’s a prime place for an art installation and unique lighting.”
He said they are working with the Cultural Council right now to identify local artists who might be interested.
The ability for the City to be able to create the park was unique because the City actually owned the parcels. On the other side of the Bridge in Charlestown, that community has been hamstrung by state red tape in being able to utilize vast tracts of land under the Bridge. That’s also an issue in Chelsea further into the Bridge approach area.
Train said the three land parcels belonged to the City because they had been transferred from the federal government to the City when the old Naval Hospital closed down.
“Everything else under Route 1, though, is state-owned,” he said.
That doesn’t hamper a larger vision, nonetheless.
Train said they hope the Overlook is just the first piece of what could be a series of parks, green spaces, bike paths and pedestrian paths throughout the underside of the Bridge.
Already, the state has plans to build a new public parking lot under the Bridge as it embarks on an upcoming maintenance project over the next three years. That could be the impetus, Train said, for more thoughtful park planning.
“That is something we envision,” he said. “We’d like to create an entire network under the Bridge for pedestrian walkways, open green spaces and public landscaped promenades.”
Funding for the Overlook came through a state PARC grant of $400,000 and another appropriation from the City Council.
Quirk Construction built the park, and the landscape architect was CBA.
Chris Barnes, X. Bonnie Woods and Ali Clift were just one group of Chelsea artists who gathered at the Mystic Brewery to kick off the City’s effort to identify all of the artists working and living in Chelsea. While artists have long been active in Chelsea, no one has ever identified all of them and what they do.
Chelsea has long had a budding artist community, but few have ever fully taken stock of just what talents are blossoming in Chelsea’s creative community.
That is all changing as the Chelsea Cultural Council begins its effort to do an assessment of artist in the city and their various talents.
The kick-off for the event took place last Thursday, July 27, at the Mystic Brewery – where artists new and old came out for an evening of socializing with one another and City leaders.
“This is something we’re doing in conjunction with the artist survey we’re running to identify all the artists who live and work in Chelsea,” said Sharlene McLean, chair of the Cultural Council. “We decided it would be nice to have an event to kick it off where artists could met each other. Also, many of us on the Cultural Council don’t know each other and many of the artist don’t know each other. The overall effort is to get a sense of the artistic resources here and what their ideas are about holding artist-related events that will help them…This will not be the last time we get together for certain.”
Bea Cravatta, director of the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division, said having a sense of the artists in the community is extremely important.
The Cultural Council, she said, is an entity that fits under her department and one that needs to be enhanced a great deal.
“There’s a lot of financial support out there; it’s just about where to find it and is your timing right,” she said. “This work is the heart and soul of the city and very, very important for health and enjoyment of the entire city.”
Long-time artists X. Bonnie Woods said the event was enjoyable and it was nice to see the artists and the Cultural Council get together. It was the first time she recalled such a thing happening.
While wholesale infrastructure changes aren’t expected for another couple of years on Broadway, momentum is already building for major change to the downtown Broadway Business District this summer.
On Wednesday, June 28, the musician Kali gave a sneak peak on Chelsea City Hall Lawn just what will come with the new Chelsea Lunch initiative, which starts next Weds., July 12.
According to Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney, Chelsea Lunch Marketplace will take place every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. on City Hall Lawn through the end of September. The event is presented by Chelsea Prospers in partnership with Healthy Chelsea and will have musicians and community information tables.
The effort is meant to enliven the district during the day, but there will also be action in the evenings in Chelsea Square. Graney envisions having daytime activities in Bellingham Square throughout the summer and evening activities in Chelsea Square.
To kick off that effort, Summer Nights in Chelsea Square will kick off in one month on Aug. 3 with music and dancing by Los Sugar Kings.
Other concerts include:
August 10, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smell-O-Vision
August 17, Tarbox Ramblers backwoods blues music
Aug. 24 will be a unique experience where concert-goers can be the star. the live Karaoke band, The Cover Story will play and audience members are invited to sing.
Additionally, late last week Graney announced small placemaking grants available for the district. The mini-grants are between $200 and $750 for small projects like parklets, pop up events or temporary art installations – or whatever creative idea one may have for the district. An info session has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, at 6 p.m. in the Chelsea Public Library. The deadline for applications is Aug. 18.
To enhance the mini-grants, Chelsea will be celebrating National Parking Day on Sept. 15. All across America, cities, towns and organizations transform parking spaces in downtown districts into small parks for the day. That was done last year for the first time by GreenRoots on Broadway – an effort that was a smash hit and likely will become even more intriguing this year, Graney said.
On the infrastructure and design front, the Re-Imagining Broadway effort will present its findings after many months of study on July 13, 6 p.m., in the Chelsea Senior Center, 10 Riley Way. The consultant Nelson Nygaard has been studying everything from sidewalks and streetlights to making Broadway a two-way street again. The findings will be suggestions for implementation to the City, which contracted the consultants late last year and has conducted several public meetings since then.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he is encouraged by the work of the Downtown Task Force over the past few months – an effort that include four Chelsea Police Officers dedicated to patrolling the Broadway Business Corridor and meeting in a roundtable on a weekly basis.
He said that between that effort, the Human Service Navigators, good deal is getting done on the Corridor.
However, he said that spending the large sum of money approved by the City Council for infrastructure repairs and improvements would likely not take place for a little while. Right now, he said about $500,000 of that sum has been on design and planning. The bulk of the monies, some $5 million, will be allocated in a few years, he said.
“There’s still a lot of planning to do,” he said. “We We probably won’t start the infrastructure work for another year or more, but we are looking at what we want to do now. Most likely, all of that work will start in calendar year 2019, maybe 2018. We’re at least one year away from that work…This is a marathon and not a spring. It’s a five to 10 year effort to re-invent this downtown.”
Other efforts under way or already planned include:
Retail Best Practices Program presented by City of Chelsea’s Chelsea Prospers with the Chamber of Commerce – July 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Half-day workshop for all downtown businesses on issues like effective displays, marketing, customer service. Businesses can then apply to be one of the six businesses that will receive a half day of one-on-one consulting on their specific needs and to receive a mini-grant to implement one of the recommendations. http://www.chelseachamber.org/
FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards – Chelsea Prospers in partnership with the Board of Health to increase food safety, build business and workforce expertise, and boost consumer confidence. The first activity under this multiyear effort is a training and certification food safety program for Chelsea businesses. Through the Chelsea Community Schools we’re presenting on July 27 a full day of training in English and Spanish, plus the certification exam at a deeply discounted rate. The program is exclusively for Chelsea businesses and workers. Registration required at https://register.communitypass.net/Chelsea
MassSave Business Grants – In August, at the behest of Chelsea Prospers and the Chelsea’s Energy Manager to increase environmental sustainability, a team from EverSource is coming to the downtown the week of August 7 to conduct free energy assessments for area businesses. Through the assessments they’ll be able to determine eligibility for a variety of new equipment like lighting, thermostats, refrigerator motors, etc. Discounts for the installed equipment start at 70 percent and 0 percent financing is available for the co-pay. Many businesses are eligible for thousands of dollars in new equipment and able to dramatically reduce their utility bills. All Massachusetts utility customers pay into the fund that supports this program – take advantage of these significant savings. https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/business-rebates/facility-assessments/
Chelsea’s First Paw-Raid – Walk and celebration for dogs and their friends on September 9 to check out the dog park under construction at Mystic Overlook Park. Starting at City Hall Lawn at 11 a.m. and finishing up at Mystic Overlook Park.
Interise is the “Street-wise MBA”, a training program for established businesses. For the first time ever they’ll be hosting their training program in East Boston and focusing on the needs of businesses in Chelsea, Everett, East Boston and Winthrop. Get your business to the next level or be prepared to steer it ably through a time of transition. https://www.interise.org/
Cultural Assets Survey in partnership with the Cultural Council and The Neighborhood Developers – This fall we’re gathering information on Chelsea’s creative assets — both the people and the infrastructure – who make related to the cultural economy of the City. The first part of this effort is the Artist Survey, open now at https://tinyurl.com/chelseaartistsurvey and at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7TRRLK.