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An estimated 120 people provided their ideas and comments during an interactive forum aimed at giving shape to the town's draft Arts and Culture Action Plan.

The town Department of Planning and Community Development and the town Commission on Arts and Culture working with Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) held the meeting at Town Hall on Wednesday, March 1.

The plan is expected to be unveiled at a community meeting set for June 6 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall Auditorium.

Guests mingled and dined on food from D'Agostino's while listening to the musical stylings of David Harris on piano. Artworks from Arlington High School students were on display with the artists on hand to answer any questions. Broadcasting the lively, interactive discussion was ACMi.

This is the first townwide event for the arts and culture action planning project, which launched last September. The process will result in an arts-and-culture action plan for the town, putting into effect the historical and cultural resource goals outlined in the 2015 master plan.

Jenny Raitt, director of planning and community development, opened the meeting and acknowledged members of the town's arts-and-culture working group and MAPC. Next, Selectmen Joe Curro discussed the importance of cultural planning to the town.

Then Jenn Erickson, manager of technical-assistance programs from MAPC, gave a presentation on the cultural planning process and the findings from nine focus groups and a townwide survey that wrapped up in January with more than 900 respondents. Highlights included data on the number of artists living and working in Arlington who work primarily from their home (67 percent of survey respondents) as well as areas of need identified in the survey (e.g., rehearsal spaces for music and theater).

Feedback from the March 1 meeting will be used to give shape to the plan.

Attendees then worked in small groups on the following topics during three, 20-minute sessions:

Station 1 – Arlington's Arts and Cultural Assets and Vision: What’s your personal hope/vision for Arlington's arts and cultural life?

Station 2 – Engaging with Arts and Culture and Expressing Creativity

Station 3 – Creative Community Needs and Opportunities

Station 4 – Desired Arts and Cultural Events, Offerings, Opportunities in Public and Private Spaces

Group facilitators wrapped up the meeting reporting highlights from their group conversations. Meeting attendees expressed great enthusiasm and hope for what comes next in the process.

For more information about this project, contact Ali Carter, economic-development coordinator at 781-316-3090, acarter[@]town.arlington.ma.us or go to www.arlingtonma.gov/departments/planning-community-development/cultural-planning

This announcement was published Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, and updated March 7.