To the Somerville Community
Request for Somerville Voter Resident Signatures to Hold Town Meeting

My name is Parama Chattopadhyay, Business Owner and Resident of Out of the Blue Community Arts, a 501c3 non-profit organization, currently located in the Arts at the Armory building (the “Armory”) in Somerville, MA. “Out of the Blue” has been operating in the Armory since October 2019, and is known for its lively local art exhibits, music shows and literary events.

The Armory currently houses a total of 8 small arts-based businesses, each business named as a “tenant” for the purposes of this petition. Tenants have been solely dedicated to promoting the arts in Somerville and the surrounding communities since 2005. In 2021, the City of Somerville has taken over the Armory through the process of Eminent Domain. The stated purpose of this takeover was to provide financial support to the Armory and to help artists who have been “hit hard” by the COVID-19 pandemic. The status of the current tenants of the Armory is now unclear and there has been little explication from the City of Somerville. As it now stands – the tenants have been told that they are subject to eviction at the City’s whim.

In addition, the City of Somerville has struggled in its management of the Armory since the takeover – failing to provide sufficient maintenance and janitorial services. Some tenants have complained of heavy-handed and arbitrary treatment by the City of Somerville. Exacerbating the situation, the City of Somerville has not been transparent with regards to its plans for the Armory (beyond hiring an “arts consultant”) and has failed to adequately communicate it’s plans for the Armory and how the current tenants fit into these plans.

Based upon the above, I propose that the City of Somerville hold a town hall meeting to discuss the Armory’s management and the City of Somerville’s vision for its future. I am therefore publishing this petition specifically for Somerville residents to sign, asking for a Town Hall Meeting. Your support is appreciated, as a minimum of 50 signatures and most optimally 200 signatures from Somerville voting residents would require that the City of Somerville host such a meeting.

The purposes of the Town Meeting would be to:

  1. Ensure that Armory tenants are not treated arbitrarily and that current Armory tenants will not be evicted or intimidated to leave before (at least) June 31, 2022.
  2. Discuss fair and unbiased treatment by the “arts consultant” to be hired by the City in April 2022. The City promised public discussions about who the consultant would be, but has failed to provide any information about this consultant since the one and only public tenant’s meeting with City management on September 23, 2021.
  3. Discuss fair rehoming assistance for current art businesses at the Armory who are at great risk of being displaced on or before June 31, 2022. This is especially important since many of the tenants have original leases that spanned over the next 2 to 5 years and arranged their finances based upon that commitment.
  4. Discuss having a proper janitor and maintenance professional at the building. Currently, the City of Somerville has not hired a janitor, despite promises of doing so. To underscore the importance of proper building maintenance, two tenants were recently stuck in the Armory’s unmaintained elevator and had to call the Somerville Fire Department to be rescued.

Please fill out the information below and thank you for your support in this matter.

Denise

 Somerville  Armory tenants meeting including
the Gallery and the Gallery’s attorney:

Watch a video recording of the Somerville Armory Tenants Meeting by clicking the image.

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about us

The Parma Chai Out of the Blue Community Arts Gallery is a beloved art gallery, music venue, and literary salon known for our lively local art exhibits and music shows. With 30 years of experience in the arts and hosting events both public and private, formal and casual, we have always worked to ensure art flourishes in our neighborhood. At the gallery, there is space available for artists and makers to work in, as well as room for art shows, music, rehearsals, and other creative activities such as classes, dance, and yoga.

Our Mission

The mission of the Gallery is to organize, support, and present to the public at large the creative efforts of local artists, musicians, and other creatives from our community, locally and internationally. Artists of all abilities are given an opportunity to share in the expression of the arts and all of its varieties and forms, whether through painting, music, dance, poetry, story, acting or singing. The Gallery aims to enable these same artists to intermingle with those of different disciplines, to grow and learn from each other. The Gallery’s purpose is to bring people together in an inspiring, supportive, and empowering environment.

Gallery Space

Events may include but are not limited to poetry readings, storytelling, writer’s groups, film screenings, fundraisers and benefits, birthday parties, wedding receptions, funeral receptions, music performances, art shows, music lessons, dance classes, meditation sessions, open mics, rehearsals, and recordings. If you are interested in using one of our multiple spaces, please contact Owner/Business Manager Parama Chattopadhyay at parama@outoftheblueartgallery.com. Space is limited so if you are interested please don’t hesitate to be in touch. At this time we are not accepting new visual artists for our walls as we are at maximum capacity, but we continue to expand our artistic community by hosting personal exhibits, and inviting guest musicians, poets and instructors. We celebrate diversity and inclusiveness.

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