Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Art Beat Festival: July 10 to 18: 'Chance' it and visit!

Recently I spoke with Rachel Strutt of The Somerville Arts Council about the Art Beat Festival coming up July 8-10. Because of the pandemic--most of the events will be virtual, but there will be some live happenings as well.

Strutt told me the festival was found in the late 1990s before her and Gregory Jenkins' ( Director) tenure. The mission statement of the festival was as it is now: to bring the community together through engagement with the arts.

Last year's theme was "consumed," this year's is "chance." Strutt told me, " The theme last year was a bit heavy--we wanted to lighten it up a bit." And indeed, the wonderful graphic for the festival, created by Paula Champagne, of a young and beautiful African woman, walking on a sort of tight rope certainly fits the bill.

Strut told me the council is following the strict rules of social distancing as established by the CDC,  as well as state and local officials.

Strutt said there will be musical events at venues like The Burren, The Jungle, and the Arts Armory. There will be no audience of course, but the virtual performances will be streamed to the public. Better yet--the musicians get paid. Strutt added, " We have a Brazilian drummer Marcus Santos, who will appear in three different unannounced places--to minimize the crowds.

Well, I am a poet so I certainly was interested to hear what was in store for that end of things  Thanks to the efforts of the council and Somerville's Poet Laureate Lloyd Schwartz, select Somerville poets will be streamed from the festival's website. Also there will be signs, with each poet's poems posted around the city.

Strutt said the festival will address the atrocious treatment of people-of- color in this country, as it will be manifested in the art, installations, poetry and music that this event offers.

Go to  to watch the festival.

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