Interim Home, Long-Term Plan for Displaced Musicians in Allston-Brighton Announced
Starting in early March, displaced musicians from the Sound Museum at 155 N. Beacon Street in Brighton will be able to move to a new music rehearsal space at 55 Morrissey Blvd. in Dorchester, the former Beasley Media Group building.
After over a year of community and advocacy work, Mayor Michelle Wu and the #ARTSTAYSHERE COALITION are excited to announce a plan to secure the future for a community of artists and musicians facing displacement in Brighton, after the parties worked to secure an up to two-year interim rehearsal space and a long-term plan to permanently maintain the community in Allston-Brighton. The Mayor’s Office has been working closely with the #ARTSTAYHERE Coalition, the Office of Councilor Liz Breadon and the Boston Planning and Development Agency to secure these immediate and long-term solutions.
Starting in early March, displaced musicians from the Sound Museum at 155 N. Beacon Street in Brighton will be able to move to a new music rehearsal space at 55 Morrissey Blvd. in Dorchester, the former Beasley Media Group building. The temporary site owners, Center Court Mass. LLC, have generously offered the musicians this home for up to two years while a permanent home is built in Brighton. The #ARTSTAYSHERE Coalition, through an independent committee review process, has identified nonprofit music recording/rehearsal outfit The Record Co. as the interim operator of the new site. The space will offer over 80+ rehearsal rooms at an affordable rental rate, includes ample free parking for musicians, and is easily accessible via public transportation at the MBTA’s Red Line JFK UMass station.
“Vibrant artist communities are a necessary part of what makes Boston a dynamic, welcoming city,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m grateful to the #ArtStaysHere Coalition, Center Court Mass. LLC, and the Record Co. for reaching an agreement to preserve this community of music-makers. The City is working with IQHQ and the Sound Museum to ensure that space for recording artists is available until the new site is ready, and we’re excited to help secure a permanent new home for this community in Allston Brighton.”
“Stabilizing the artist community has been a priority of our office,” said City Councilor Liz Breadon. “Affordable rehearsal and recording spaces generate artistry, excitement, and community for musicians and music lovers, and are part of the fabric of the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. I am very grateful for the nimble and collaborative work of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, the #ARTSTAYSHERE Coalition, and Center Court Mass, LLC in identifying swing space prior to the anticipated creation of a large, permanently affordable rehearsal space in Brighton.”
“We understand from the #ArtsStayHere Coalition that The Record Co. is working to open temporary musical rehearsal spaces by the end of February,” said Kim Thai, Director of Development at IQHQ. “IQHQ is committed to allowing musicians to stay at 155 North Beacon Street until that time.”
“We couldn’t be more grateful to Matthew Snyder and his entire team at Center Court Mass, LLC. for stepping up in a time of crisis,” says Ethan Dussault, of the #ARTSTASYHERE Coalition. “This large footprint of space is hard to find in Boston. Luckily, as it was formerly commercial radio studios, it's almost turn-key for music rehearsal swing space.”
The #ARTSTAYSHERE Coalition, Center Court Mass, LLC, and The Record Co. are now working to make the 55 Morrissey Blvd. space ready for move-in and use by musicians. They anticipate this work to be complete in the coming weeks, and allow for move-in by March 1. Displaced tenants from the Sound Museum can apply to move to the swing space here.
“We’re just glad we’re able to help the musicians in the short-term,” says Matthew Snyder of Center Court Mass, LLC, owner of the swing space. “Our development won't begin for a while, so we’re glad to put the space to use until then.”
The #ARTSTAYSHERE COALITION is working with The New England Musicians Resource Fund on potential moving services for musicians to transport their equipment from Brighton to Dorchester.
“We formed during the pandemic to help musicians,” said Gabriel Rice, President of the New England Musicians Resource Fund. “As we look to expand our musician support beyond the pandemic, we’re happy to contribute toward easing the transition to hundreds of musicians.”
The City remains committed to helping these musicians secure a new, permanent, affordable rehearsal space in Allston-Brighton. In late 2022, IQHQ purchased a new building at 290 North Beacon Street and committed to gifting it to the City for this purpose. The City and the BPDA are currently evaluating the proposal alongside neighborhood artists and are confident it will provide the long-term solution needed to return these displaced musicians to the neighborhood. The City and BPDA look forward to continuing the public process around the proposal.
Creative communities in Greater Boston, like in many other cities, face recurring displacement challenges and are rarely resourced with advocates or administrators to help preserve cultural spaces and secure ownership of their own spaces. The City continues to partner with the artist community to find solutions to this crisis. Last fall, the Mayor announced an unprecedented investment of $1.7 million to preserve the artist workspaces at Humphreys Street Studios (HSS) in Dorchester, which is now majority artist-owned and operated.
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- Published by: Arts and Culture