#10 Art and Music Performance Spaces Needed

It is clear from the numerous artists in our studios, to the plenitude of singers, bands, and hip hop acts that practice in our basements, to the all of our young people attending Boston Arts Academy and the other art and music programs in our schools, that Dorchester has talent! And Dorchester needs more places for our musicians, poets, and artists to display their amazing art in our neighborhood.

Although there are some local establishments that display our artists' work (such as the Ashmont Grill, Flat Black Coffee, Dot 2 Dot, and of course the Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts), this should become more widespread throughout Dorchester and be expanded to include open mic nights for musicians and poetry slams for poets (not to mention helping them creating more art here, as opposed to taking the Red Line out to the other neighborhoods of the city or Cambridge). At the same time, this will help foster a boom of art appreciation among residents and give our teenagers a safe and productive place to spend their time. As a result, we propose the following ideas:

1. If you are a coffee shop or local restaurant, offer one night a week to be an open mic night or poetry slam. Not only will it bring more people into your place of business to hear live music (and purchase things from you), but it will also help local musicians and poets.

2. There are a number of vacant store fronts along Dorchester Ave., Blue Hill Ave., and the other thoroughfares in the neighborhood, these are all prospective places to open an art house to display local artwork and provide a space for musical groups and poets to perform. If you rent property (especially in places that are T accessible) and you have not been able to rent it out for some time, consider offering it for free (or low rent) to a local music and art groups for performances.

3. If you have a local business or restaurant, encourage local artists to display their work on your walls. We have a list of the websites of many local artists on this website. Send them an e-mail if you like their work and invite them to display their artwork (and post contact info if people are interested in adding to their own collections).

4. The MBTA should create designated performance areas for musicians at the four MBTA stations in Dorchester that currently do not allow performances (Savin Hill, Fields Corner, Shawmut, and Ashmont - JFK/UMASS already has a designated performance space), allowing a free place for our neighbors to perform (We would also like to highlight that fact that all red line stops in Cambridge and Somerville have performance spaces... Why not Dot?). Let the T know by contacting them at: MBTA Customer Feedback.

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Highlight on Activism: DotOUT

Continuing our segment that highlights those who are activists in our community. Our second featured group is DotOUT.

DotOUT is a local organization committed to acceptance, inclusion, and equality for all. The group focuses more specifically on activism related to issues facing the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. Dorchester's gay and lesbian residents have a long history of contributing to the neighborhood, but in the last decade this community has become more visible and vibrant. DotOUT is also highly engaged politically, including a passionate debate over mayor candidate endorsements at a meeting in 2009 that stirred the local press, such as the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, Bay Windows, and Dorchester Reporter. With important national debates over marriage rights and anti-discrimination legislation, we are proud that our community has such a strong LGBTQ voice!

To find out more about DotOUT or attend their meetings, check out their website: www.dotout.org

To read more about the history of DotOUT, check out this Boston Globe article from 2005: Under a rainbow flag, linking the Dots

DotOUT's float in the 2009 Dot Day parade. Possibly one of the greatest floats in parade history. (Picture by Dottie Hottie)