Monday, December 29, 2008

Part 4-2: Un-Cut Interview April 2008 - The Before and After

Reporter: What do you feel your gallery brought to the West End and to Malden in general during your time as a gallery owner? How has Malden changed as a place for artists during your time running artSPACE@16? It seems to me that Malden is a city with several personalities: a blue-collar working-class characteristic, but also a side attuned to the arts. What were your impressions of the city when you moved here? How have they changed (or did they remain the same?) during your time here? What role do you see the arts playing in Malden in the future?

I would say I am a typical example of a Malden resident, a working class resident, who is attuned to the arts. I started looking for venues of arts and cultural as soon as I moved to Malden in 2000.

I was told by my neighbors that Mayor Howard is very supportive of the arts in Malden, and that there’s a drawing group that meets every Monday evening called Malden Sketch Group; Pearl Street Art Studio and Malden Cultural Council, Malden Public Library, Asian Spectrum TV Program, Malden Cable TV, Chinese Culture Connection, Malden High School’s Blue and Gold Gallery, and the Commerce Place exhibition Space. I thought Malden had great potential after learning all of the above mentioned. I decided to infuse my expertise in to the community.

I think that artSPACE@16 has changed Malden and its artists over these past eight years. The noticeable changes are that the call for more arts in the City is getting stronger. There is more coverage of local arts and cultural events by our local newspapers and on the world wide web.

I worked with, and /or provided consultation to inspired artists and community groups to establish their art initiatives. I’m grateful that I was able to get the community involved in the process of building an artists’ community, and keeping the community involved in it.

To date, there is a great addition of art initiatives I provided start-up consultation and/or helped to establish, such as Malden Muse Art Journal, MATV Art Gallery, Gallery at Elm Street, The Mayor’s Gallery, IDEAS 5 Artists Studios, Window Arts Malden, Irving Street Studios, West End Cafe Gallery and more….

Malden has great potential in becoming a HOTBED for the arts if more inspired residents, artists, professionals and the City officers continue to take the lead in starting new art initiatives, developing and sustaining these art initiatives.

With the Mayor’s ambitious plan of rehabilitating the Jenkins Auditorium into the largest performing arts center North of Boston; the conversion of old Convent into artists live/work space is underway, the considerable fine art collections and performing halls at the Public Library; fully equipped auditoriums in our local schools, over 10 dance studios in practice, Jazz Musicians like Tim Ray and Cahrlie Kohlhase, storytellers Laura Packer and Kevin Brooks, and exceptional art writer like Roanna Forman (for MaldenMuse and artscope magazine). I think we have it all here.

Many talented artists are yet to come out from under the rocks of the hilly Malden landscape. What Malden needs is sustainable funding in running the facilities, developing and implementing the programming.

The continued growth of the Malden artists’ community is an assurance of Malden Arts moving toward a flourishing future.