Arts and beyond: Cambridge Mayor kicks off a holiday special celebration

  • Yosi Karahashi (left) and Mayor Marc McGovern (right) pose for a photo at the celebration of the ArtBoston's 15th annual Mayor's Holiday Special. Nov.14, 2018. Photo by Aaron Ye /BU News Service

By Aaron Ye
BU News Service

BOSTON — Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern greeted Catherine Peterson, the executive director of ArtsBoston and three costumed performers from the city’s popular holiday events at Cambridge’s City Hall, on Wednesday Nov. 14, to celebrate the 15 years of the ArtsBoston’s Mayor’s Holiday Special, an initiative to subsidize the access to holiday arts events and encourage the public’s assistance. 

“It’s all about making arts accessible,” Mayor McGovern said.

The city is expecting to host more than 150 events in the holiday season. The Mayor’s Holiday Special will sell discount tickets with  up to 50 percent off to any event. 

The Mayor’s Holiday Special expects to sell 250,000 tickets to cultural events around the city by the first month of the sale. A special recognition event to celebrate this achievement will be held later in the holiday season, according to Peterson.

Since 2004, the Mayor’s Holiday Special program has saved costumes more than 7 million dollars.

The 2018 Mayor’s Holiday Special includes returning seasonal favorites such as the Boston Pops’ Holiday Pops, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical, José Mateo’s The Nutcracker, etc.

In addition, the initiative offers a $10 discount on expenses over $40 at some participating restaurants.

Along with the initiative of the Mayor’s Holiday Special, Mayor McGovern also talked about the Mayor’s task force for the arts and the Central Square Mural Project.

“We can make these beautiful murals and street performers and all free and accessible for everybody,” said Mayor McGovern.

Street artists in Cambridge have to pay for a permit to perform. It is $40 per performer and $160 per group, per year, according to Cambridge Arts. But starting Jan.1, 2019, street performers will no longer need to pay for a permit. They wil still need to submit records in order to avoid conflicts, according to the mayor.

“We are light years ahead of so many other communities and have the financial resources to really invest [in arts],” said Mayor McGovern.

The Central Square Mural Project, which focuses on presenting the square’s history through art forms, has raised over $25,000 through crowdfunding, according to MassDevelopment.

The mayor’s task force for the arts, a group of 22 local professionals coming from different business associations and arts communities, is meeting over the next several months.

“We’ve got to show our support and how much we value the arts in our community to really talk about how we can do a better job supporting the arts in our city and to make a series of recommendations to the city council,” Mayor McGovern said.

“I am a terrible artist and dancer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy and support [the arts].”

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