Friday, June 30, 2006

Do We Have A Friend In the State House?!

With the new ICA opening, and the old one sure to be demolished, we are actually losing another theatre space here in Boston. With The Calderwood's three new spaces, plus Zero Arrow, plus the Watertown Arsenal Center, the newspapers have trumpeted a gain of spaces here in Boston and surrounding environs. But with the loss of the BCA's Leland Center, and now the closing of the ICA Theatre, we could quickly even out as far as affordable spaces for younger or smaller companies goes.

We should reach out to Senate President Robert Travaglini, who represents Boston and Cambridge, because he seems to be willing to go the mat for the importance of the Arts. After all, as stated in this article today in the, Travaligni is willing to make darn sure that Pittsfield, MA gets their theatre restoration from state funds.

Travaglini, a Boston Democrat, was effusive in his praise of both the Colonial’s aesthetic and acoustic accoutrements. Although smaller in size, the Colonial compares well to popular Boston venues such as the Wang Theatre, he said.

“This is as beautiful as anything in Boston,” he said. “It’s a great facility.”

Travaglini said that the Colonial’s history and famed acoustics would draw top-flight performers to Pittsfield. He even promised to spread the word himself, citing music industry connections.

Perhaps more importantly, Travaglini suggested that he’d carry the torch for continued funding on Beacon Hill. In fact, he shrugged off a recent veto of some state funding for the theatre by Governor Mitt Romney. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, voicing confidence that the legislature will override the veto.

Don't Worry About It? Let's all e-mail Mr. Travaglini and see if he can use some of that State House pull closer to his district as well. We could ask him to protect or at least work on replacing the ICA Theatre.

Maybe we could also get him to work on some type of project similar to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space Project, in which artists can use temporarily vacant commercial spaces for projects or rehearsals. You can read more about that project here.

After all:

The senate president agreed, noting that business leaders and officials in communities across the state now recognize the importance the arts as an economic engine.

If you want to contact Mr. Travaglini just to thank him for his generous appreciation of the value of live performance, you can find his website here.

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