Art Walk will Emphasize New Cultural District in Chelsea Square Layout

By Seth Daniel

When the Chelsea Art Walk premieres this coming June 11 and 12, it will have a significant Chelsea Square feel to it.

That’s because instead of buses ferrying folks all over the City, this year’s Art Walk will be the first to acknowledge the desire by the City to have a Cultural District, and therefore will center most activities in and around Chelsea Square for the first time.

“We’ve re-engineered Art Walk to be in venues proximate to Chelsea Square,” said Bob Boulrice, who is helping organizer Joe Greene and others with this year’s walk. “This is related to allowing people to experience the venues without the need for buses. To that extent, we’re glad to now have Roca participating and others. We’re doing this to support the City’s desire to activate Chelsea Square as a Cultural District. That means that people will come to Chelsea Square and experience a lot of art and culture. There are Cultural Districts all over the places I go, why should Chelsea have one too?”

The Art Walk will feature new venues in proximity to the Square like Roca, as mentioned above, but it will also use some creative ways of centralizing the fun.

For example, the Boston Printmakers Board will present a show of award winning etchings and lithographs inside of a shipping container parked in the park area next to Broadway and Second Street.

Also, there will be an Independent Film Festival called ‘Moving Pictures’ inside another container on the park area.

There will also be live music on a stage that is set up on Second Street. There, from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, The Curve of the Earth and Chelsea High School Rockers will perform – as well as hip hop artists ‘Truey’ and ‘Frenchie.’

It will all be anchored by the Apollinaire Theatre, which is undergoing major renovations right now with the goal of re-opening a whole new theatre complex this fall.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity this year,” said Boulrice. “The renovations now going on at the Apollinaire is very appropriate and convenient to this. The Apollinaire is now going to be offering an opportunity for Boston-area theatre artists to create their work in Chelsea Square. The moment is right. Those who have been involved with Art Walk for a decade feel it’s incredibly important to let people know we want them to come here. There’s been enough bad news, and this is very good news.”

At the City level, City Planner John DePriest said that through May, students from Tufts University in the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning class have been surveying and interviewing folks in the downtown area.

DePriest said the City wishes to have a Cultural District that runs from City Hall all the way to Williams Street. It would not only include arts venues like Apollinaire, but also capitalize on the different foods and cultural items on Broadway.

“They talked to a lot of people to get a sense of what’s going on downtown and what’s available downtown,” he said. “They went through a process of gathering information for a grant application that we plan to submit. We’re also looking to identify private funding and non-profit funding opportunities. It really goes beyond the arts. We want to emphasize the multi-cultural aspects of the District. There are Spanish restaurants, Asian stores and then you have the international nature of the City. Chelsea’s downtown fits well together.”

Boulrice said one must think about how a Cultural District can help the city.

“It’s not to think about what a Cultural District is, but what a Cultural District does,” he said. “A Cultural District provides an opportunity for residents and others to go to a a specific place…In Chelsea Square there food, karaoke, Mariachi, singing, dancing, Apollinaire Theatre, Pearl Street Gallery and the art now being produced at Roca. Chelsea Square would seem to be a likely area to designate as a Cultural District. Arts and culture goes on all over Chelsea, but by designating this a cultural district, the local population and the wider populace that attends an arts and culture event will come to know there’s a lot going on in Chelsea.”

Certainly, anyone attending the Art Walk on June 11 or 12 will be well aware of that, as they premiere ‘Art in the Park.’

Venues include:

  • Pearl Street Gallery, 100 Pearl St.
  • Chelsea Community Garden, Ellsworth Street
  • Roca, 101 Park St. (12-6 p.m. both days)
  • Apollinaire Theatre Company, 189 Winnisimmet St.
  • The Apollinaire Gallery (second floor), 189 Winnisimmet St.
  • Second Street Sound Stage, Saturday 3-5 p.m.
  • Indie Film Fest, Containers in the Park (Broadway and Second Street)
  • Boston Printmakers, Containers in the Park (Broadway and Second Street)
  • Mystic Brewery, 174 Williams St.

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