Town Council Role in recommending financial support for arts in Amherst.
In addition to the percent for Art bylaw which I supported, the Town of Amherst must increase the Leisure Services budget for theatre performances, both big and small; spend money to upgrade the theatre and auditoriums at the Amherst Regional Middle School and High School.
Three things I can do to deepen Amherst’s investment in its creative economy.
1. Support the Town’s taking over and adapt the soon to be redundant Firehouse at the center of town into a performing arts venue with rehearsal room, performance spaces, and perhaps dinner theatre. Provide the funding & secure grants for the physical reconstruction and provide some of the funds to maintain it. Many towns in Mass have done this using municipal funding and grants. They do not expect it to be completely self supporting, but worthy of subsidy.
2. Support the privately funded BID Performance Shell on the South Common and make a deal with Amherst College regarding parking in their adjacent lots. Town could help provide maintenance of the Shell and its surroundings.
3. Support the Drake. Support the use the Town Amity Street parking lot augmented by some of the Bank of America’s parking space for a more centrally located and visible parking structure, esp for out of towners.
How to modify Town’s current budget process to include funding for the arts.
The Town of Amherst could include funds for some staff and maintenance for some of the private arts buildings just as they do for the Jones Library which is owned by a private corporation. The hope is that the increased revenue which will flow to the town will help offset the new expenditures.
How Amherst can promote cultural tourism and be a partner with existing cultural institutions/foster new ones
Amherst should use old and new technology to publicize all local art events. Not having children in the High School, I find it almost impossible every year to find out what the show is and when it will be performed for the public. The Town should play a role in helping plan twice a year Arts Festivals and in setting up shows and competitions. What about a one-act play competition where selected plays are given full performances and the audience votes for local “oscars.”
The same should be done for dance troupes.
The Town Website should have a large and lively section dedicated to live performance of music, dance, and theatre pieces.