Wu’s plan for the arts

This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen discusses Mayor Michelle Wu’s plan to elevate the arts in Boston and a new show centered around Parkinson’s disease.

Mayor Michelle Wu talks about the arts

Watch his full interview at Open workshop with Jared Bowen on March 17

Jared Bowen sat down with Wu last week to talk all things arts in Boston. The mayor was raised with a passion for the arts – especially music, as evidenced by the upright piano that now resides in the mayor’s office. She says Bowen’s music was something that connected her immigrant family to their Chicago community. As Wu says, “Music transcends everything.”

“The arts are what bring us together, whether you’re outdoors, experiencing public art, or going to museums. And that’s why she understands, again, that the arts are going to be key here as we come back as a city,” says Bowen.

“He’s also someone who understands that the arts are an economic engine, that when people come to see shows or go to museums, they hire babysitters or pay for parking,” he continues. “That’s why it’s in the center of the city – and will only come alive when the arts become central here again.”

Bostonians can see the arts in the spotlight at City Hall with #ARTWORKSHERE. This is a public exhibition that examines Humphreys Street Studios’ campaign to retain their space within the city. “We have so much development here, a lot of artists are losing their spaces and performing arts organizations are losing their rehearsal spaces,” says Bowen.

The mayor’s plan to fund the arts begins with federal pandemic relief funds. Wu says she hopes to support arts organizations and artists and lay the groundwork for systemic investment in the arts in the future.

The #ARTWORKSHERE exhibit at Boston City Hall.

Howard Powell / GBH News

“Daily life and other odds and ends”

On view at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater at Emerson Paramount Center through March 27 and streaming April 1-10

Arts Emerson’s latest production, ‘Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends’, highlights the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease. Playwright Charlotte Meehan, whose husband lived with Parkinson’s disease for 10 years, introduces viewers to three separate couples all dealing with the disease in the non-linear play.

Two women look to the side, smiling, one lovingly wrapping her arms around the other's shoulders
Dayenne Walters and Gloria Crist in “Daily Life and Other Odds and Ends”.

David Marshall/Arts Emerson

“What this piece does is it takes us into those – as the title suggests – the other bits and bobs. a disease,” says Bowen. “You, of course, see the fundamental love, but it’s extremely tested when you’re in those kinds of circumstances, when the financial pressures are on, when you have to deal with mortality and other issues of the life.”

The piece includes a hanging screen that displays the therapist’s conversations with the actors on stage. Dance and movement are also key to this performance, allowing the characters to communicate their emotions in what Bowen describes as a “very holistic experience”.

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