Brookline Commission of the Arts empowers local artists to create lasting impact on the town



On Nov. 2nd, the Brookline Commission for the Arts discussed efforts to highlight local artists.

The Brookline Commission of the Arts (BCA) convened via Zoom at 6 p.m on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The committee members discussed the town’s match program, grants to artists and the Emerging Artists Program.

The meeting began with a discussion on the town’s recently created match program, through which the town will match the funds provided to the BCA through grants. Committee member Stan Trecker said Brookline was late compared to other towns in starting a program like this.

“For the first time last year, [we were] able to convince the town to match the funds, there’s a lot of other towns that have already gone through that process and have been matching it for years,” Trecker said. “We’re delighted that we finally have some matching funds to give more money away, especially as we have more grants and applicants.”

There is uncertainty as to whether the BCA will be able to get their funds matched again, committee member Daniel Gostin said, as last year the committee didn’t spend all of what was granted by the town.

The BCA has received assistance from the American Rescue Plan Act to create the Brookline Art Makes Community (BAMC) program. The program will create art murals in commercial areas of the town.

The murals will be hosted at the Beacon Street Gallery on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. Committee member Gillian Jackson said the BCA is hoping for a big turnout at the upcoming public meeting to discuss the location of the displaya.

“Having received the money, we’re now going through the process of soliciting community input to find out what type of public art is needed or wanted in Brookline,” Jackson said. “The public art will be focused on the commercial areas in Brookline, but exactly what locations in those areas will be a topic of discussion.”

After discussing the BAMC program, the meeting moved to discussing grant applications. The BCA gives grants out to artists who aim to make an impact on the town through their creations. Committee member Andy Dean said the BCA needs to ensure that the recipients are people who truly want to help the Brookline community.

“We want to make sure that [the grants go to] something the town really wants or benefits from in some way,” Dean said.

Adding on to Dean, Gostin said the BCA needs to be wary of applicants who might just be trying to get grant money without necessarily using it for a production or a piece in the town.

“Every year, there are at least one or two [applicants] who apply to any municipality, it doesn’t really matter where their [demonstration] is taking place. They just want to see how much they can get,” Gostin said.

The meeting shifted to a discussion on the Chris Santos Emerging Artist Program, which provides stipends to new artists to pursue their work, and where they would hold an event for such artists to present. Committee member Elizabeth Schlosberg said if the BCA were contemplating having an artist go to the schools to demonstrate their work to students during the school day, the committee would need to notify the coordinators well in advance.

“If it’s something where you’re expecting students to participate as part of their day,” Schlosberg said. “You’re asking teachers to take time away from what they need to teach.”

Committee member Peg O’Connell said the event could be held at the Brookline Booksmith to allow an emerging artist to describe their journey and inspire others.

“Our plan was to have an event at the Brookline Booksmith where someone describes what it means to be an emerging artist,” O’Connell said. “What obstacles do you face and what does it mean to be an emerging artist, whether you’re 22 or 92?”