March 7, 2011: City Council Cultural District Hearing

On behalf of the Fenway Alliance, Assistant Director Rich Frost testified at the City Council Hearing On Cultural Districts organized by Councilor Ayanna Pressley on Monday. Below is a transcript of the testimony that was also submitted in writing to the Council.

Written Testimony on Doc#0217 Order for a Hearing Regarding Cultural Districts in Boston Before the Committee on Arts, Film, Humanities and Tourism March 7, 2011

The Fenway Alliance is comprised of 22 academic & cultural institutions in the Fenway neighborhood.  I am here to express support for Cultural Districts in the City of Boston and share examples of what dedicated neighbors, business leaders and government officials can accomplish when working towards common goals.

In 1998 Mayor Menino designated Huntington Avenue from the Boston Public Library to the Longwood Medical Area the ³Avenue of the Arts² and the surrounding neighborhood The Fenway Cultural District. Our members and community partners are brought together not just by the legends that created, played, taught and built in The Fenway, but the visionary spirit of its leaders today. With numerous partners – most notably the City of Boston, and including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the MBTA, the Army Corps of Engineers, citizens groups and community organizations – the Fenway Alliance has been involved in major community initiatives that provide direct benefit to the Fenway Cultural District, including: the reconstruction of Huntington Avenue; the Muddy River Restoration Project that is breaking ground this spring; and the production of OPENING OUR DOORS – Boston¹s largest single day of free arts and cultural events, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011. The Fenway Cultural District attracts more than 3.5 million visitors each year, employs over 13,800 people and educates more than 50,000 students.

The formation of Cultural Districts encourage people to use their collective strength to enrich the economic and aesthetic well being of their community, culminating in greater recognition in the City, the region and beyond.

The Fenway Alliance would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to speak today, offer our support for the creation and preservation of Cultural Districts and welcome the opportunity to work with the Committee on this initiative.

Thank you