Mayor Gary Christenson is proud to announce the formation of the Malden Center for Arts & Culture Steering Committee. At the Mayor’s 2021 State of the City address in February, the Mayor announced the City’s intent to acquire the old Malden District Courthouse, located at 89 Summer Street, and convert it into the Malden Center for Arts & Culture. The City is currently working with the Malden Legislative Delegation to file legislation designating the courthouse as surplus property and directing its transfer from the Commonwealth to the City.
This critical component of the local creative economy comes after years of advocacy from the City’s arts community around the need for additional performance, studio, and rehearsal space in Malden. The City has always been home to a vast diversity of visual and performing artists, makers, designers, creators, and passionate arts supporters and patrons. Recent years have seen building momentum in the arts and culture sector in Malden, from the temporary pop-up gallery at 480 Street that evolved into today’s Gallery@57, to the successful ARTLine project and dozens of cultural events and musical performances sponsored by Malden Creates and the Cultural Council. Establishing a central hub where many forms of creativity can flourish, inspire, and educate the next generation will solidify Malden as an arts-friendly city, and put us on the map as a place where working artists can make a living while sharing their craft with the community.
“We are thrilled at the possibility of bringing an Arts & Culture Center to Malden,” said Mayor Christenson. “It has the potential to be an anchor institution for the City providing a much-needed home for theatre production, performances, exhibitions, and workspaces. I am excited to announce the formation of a Steering Committee to help us engage with the community to create a shared project vision, and to develop an operational plan to ensure the center is sustainable and accessible to all.”
While the ownership transfer is finalized, the City will begin developing a Concept Plan for the space. The plan will determine the uses and users of the building, develop an architectural design for renovations, build a sustainable operational model, and identify funding sources for construction and operations. This planning process will be directed by the new Malden Center for Arts & Culture Steering Committee. Ward 3 City Councillor Amanda Linehan and Evan Spetrini, Senior Planner for the Malden Redevelopment Authority will serve as Co-Chairs of the committee and will be joined by a diverse coalition of arts and cultural leaders, reflective of the various artistic disciplines and cultural backgrounds that make up the Malden community. These leaders were chosen for their deep knowledge of cultural spaces, practices, and their dedication to the Malden arts community:
- Terlonzo Amos, Urban Media Arts (UMA) Staff Member
- Naomi Brave, President, Malden Arts, Inc.
- Jenelle DeVits, Urban Media Arts (UMA) Board Member
- Yinh Kiefer, Host of Ten With Yinh Podcast, Wellness Professional
- Bob Logan, Director and Music Producer, SUM Studios
- Yu Sin Mok, Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC)
- Erga Pierette, Co-Chair, Malden Cultural Council (MCC)
- Elizabeth Ramirez, Director and Stage Manager, DEI Consultant, & Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) labor union leader
- Dawn Simmons, Co-Founder and Co-Producing Artistic Director, The Front Porch Arts Collective and Executive Director of StageSource
The Steering Committee will set the vision and values of the project, provide guidance on outreach efforts, direct fundraising activities, and communicate routinely with project consultants. The City is currently seeking grant funding to assist in the development of the Concept Plan, including an extensive and equitable community engagement process.
“Malden is blessed with such rich diversity in our City and creative sector, and that is why we are committing to an inclusive and representative public engagement process as we develop a vision for the future of the Malden Courthouse,” said Ward 3 City Councillor Amanda Linehan. “We believe that the project will better serve the needs of our artists and creative workers if we listen to their input from the start, and ground the project’s development in the community’s hopes and desires. This project has the potential to position our local economy for strength and resilience as we emerge from the pandemic, and to make our entire City more welcoming and vibrant.”
To finalize membership, the Mayor’s Office is seeking applications for a youth representative on the Steering Committee. Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to Evan Spetrini at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2021. The Steering Committee will begin meeting in June and community engagement will begin this summer. The goal is to complete the Concept Plan by the first quarter of 2022.