Creative Connect

One of our Top Priorities is to foster creative community connections. Our local creative practitioners work hard to build trust, intentional and meaningful long-term relationships throughout the community. We support arts and creative offerings that take place in the public realm and foster social connections among residents. We also provide networking and development opportunities for creatives, such as the Melrose Arts Summit and Pitch Perfect.

Photo credit: Raj Das, ED Photography

Melrose Creative Arts and Culture Summit

On March 11, the Melrose Creative Alliance welcomed local creative and cultural workers for the Second Annual Melrose Creative Arts & Culture Summit. Featured speaker, MA Cultural Council Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt, spoke of the power of arts and culture to enrich our lives and the importance of leadership and investment in the arts to fuel a creative local economy.

“I applaud the leadership of Mayor Brodeur and the Melrose Creative Alliance team in their work to put arts and culture at the forefront of Melrose economic development,” said Mr. Bobbitt. “I look forward to working with the Mayor and team on the designation of a Melrose Cultural District and celebrating all the wonderful artists that make Melrose such a vibrant and welcoming community.”

Mayor Brodeur reiterated his commitments to developing an official MA Cultural Council designated cultural district, and to increasing the annual budget for the Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts. “We are lucky to live in a community rich in cultural offerings, and Melrose benefits greatly from the leadership of the Melrose Creative Alliance,” said Mayor Brodeur. “I’m grateful to Michael Bobbitt, the MA Cultural Council, and our friends in the legislature for prioritizing investments in arts and culture that strengthen the economy, attract new investments, and ensure resources serve the public interest.”

Watch our Summit speaking program here:

Summit attendees then worked in groups to share ideas on topics including arts district activities, resources needed, access to spaces for creative work, diversity and inclusion in the arts, collaborative opportunities, and more.

Join the conversation! Our online survey is a duplicate of the Summit small working group discussions. We would love to hear your thoughts!

The Melrose Creative Arts & Culture Summit was generously supported by the Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts and the Office of Mayor Paul Brodeur.

2023 Summit Input

Here’s what you told us at the 2023 Melrose Creative Arts & Culture Summit

Arts District

– A Melrose Arts & Culture District will be inclusive of all Melrose artists and cultural workers citywide;
– Key assets are found along Main Street from Grove to Emerson, Foster St, and Emerson St to Bowdoin park;
– An interest in beta testing intentional arts-related street closures and activating specific areas, particularly around Essex Street;
– Features in an arts district most requested were visual arts, music, beer garden, food, and bike racks;
– People want arts activities to be highly visible, inviting, readily accessible, and designed to draw people in.

People

– 85% of Summit participants said there should be a leadership level Arts Administrator in Melrose;
– The job focus should be on identifying and securing resources, on collaboration among arts & cultural orgs, and on marketing Melrose offerings outside of the area to attract visitors;
– Summit attendees appreciated the event team’s focus on disability inclusion, and asked that someone from the Disability Commission to continue to be included in future Creative Alliance work.

Public Information

– The community is responding positively to the Melrose Creative Alliance website and newsletter; said to be a helpful resource of arts listings and information;
– Suggestions for a unique and marketable URL & marketing focused hashtags;
– Suggestions for more marketing and media features to promote Melrose arts and culture broadly to visitors.

Connections

– Artists and cultural workers are interested in creative collaborations that use arts to raise awareness of 1) climate and the environment, 2) BIPOC arts, 3) accessibility and inclusion;
– Artists expressed interest in professional development opportunities to learn more about marketing their work

Spaces

– Creative producers struggle to find spaces in Melrose that are affordable, accessible, and can be accessed over for long periods of time but not permanent (as in rehearsals);
– There is a strong desire for a dedicated space for outdoor music; minimum requires for such a space are coverage and electricity

Pitch Perfect

Fun Fact: You don’t need to be a registered nonprofit to get your creative project funded in Melrose! We work with local partners to introduce creative Melrosians to funding to turn ideas into reality!

At this free annual event, attendees meet and network in an informative and friendly environment with representatives from local funding organizations: Melrose Cultural Council, Melrose Messina Fund for the Arts, Melrose Rotary Club, and Melrose Bank Foundation.

Melrose funding organizations are actively seeking diverse perspectives and themes, and we are proud to foster an environment that connects creative Melrosians to resources and encourages creative collaboration!

We think the real magic happens when creative Melrosians get in a room together to hear others’ ideas, get inspired, and discover collaboration opportunities! At our last Pitch Perfect event, at least a half dozen new creative collabs were sparked that day!

We had an amazing time at Pitch Perfect! It was our first time attending a real meeting with people from the community and we felt extremely welcomed. We connected with almost everyone at the meeting. I was very inspired to collaborate with Linda Apple from the Melrose Human Rights Commission. She came right over to me at the end of the presentation and we got right to sharing information and learning about each other. I am very excited to work with her and her team. Thank you so much for everything!
Lucy Blaze, MHS Reach Leadership
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