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Arlington Alive!" -- a panel discussion and townwide meeting for businesses, nonprofits, artists and residents -- was held Thursday June 7, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at the Arlington Center for the Arts.

Speakers are:

* Adam Chapdelaine, Arlington town manager;

* Jan Whitted, Capitol Square District, East Arlington; and

* Meri Jenkins, program manager, Cultural Districts, Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The moderator is Stacie Smith, Consensus Building Institute. Breakout sessions to follow. All are welcome.

 The goal of the evening is generate ideas and foster collaborations between the town, businesses, nonprofits and artists that capitalize on arts and culture for the benefit of our community and local economy.

Taking its name, "Arlington Alive," from the Arlington Cultural Council’s predecessor organization founded in 1975 to promote the arts locally in Arlington, a coalition of town organizations -- the Arlington Cultural Council, Arlington Center for the Arts, Arlington Public Art, Arlington Committee on Tourism and Economic Development, and Sustainable Arlington -- is co-sponsoring an evening of lively and engaged discussion open to all town residents.

Adam Chapdelaine, Arlington Town Manager, and John Budzyna, Arlington Center for the Arts, will open the program, followed by Meri Jenkins, Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Program Manager for Cultural Districts, and Jan Whitted from the Capitol Square District in East Arlington, the featured panelists.
Small group discussions, led by members of the Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Arlington, Arlington Tourism and Economic Development Committee, Vision 20/20, and other participating organizations, will follow, providing all audience members a chance to offer their ideas. The meeting will be moderated by Arlington resident, Stacie Smith, from Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge.Why come together? As Scott Samenfeld, a member of both the Arlington Cultural Council and Sustainable Arlington, notes, "The arts are part of what makes a community sustainable. They are a leading indicator of health and growth in our community."
The arts attract tourism, business, and new residents to communities. They also create the bonds within a community that inspire people to invest in where they live and work. Studies of the creative economy conducted by New England Foundation for the Arts and Americans for the Arts, among other organizations, have tracked the revenue benefits to local for-profit businesses from the non-profit arts and culture industry.
Their conclusion: "Communities that support the arts and culture not only enhance their quality of life, they also invest in their economic well-being. The arts mean business!"
Arlington has a wealth of cultural assets. And with public art and scenic byway plans underway, soon it will have many more. This townwide meeting presents all of us with an opportunity to increase visibility for those assets and to develop collaborations that will help us celebrate our community and make it attractive to those who have not yet discovered what we all know – Arlington is Alive!
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Meanwhile, take a moment to fill out the the Arlington Cultural Council's Community Input Survey. Click here to take the survey now!