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Fitchburg Art Museum Artists’ Town Meeting, July 14, 2013 Meeting Notes The recent Artist’s Town Meeting

, hosted by the Fitchburg Art Museum, was attended by over fifty area artists. The purposes of the meeting were: 1. For local and regional artists to meet FAM leadership and program staff. 2. For FAM staff to describe opportunities for artists at the Museum. 3. For local and regional artists to communicate needs, desires, and suggestions to the Museum. New FAM Director Nick Capasso described the Museum’s commitment to becoming the best community art museum in America. He also spoke about re-invigorating the Museum via simultaneous improvements in programming and multi-faceted community outreach. He described FAM’s participation in helping to create a downtown cultural district along Main Street in Fitchburg, and partnership with the Twin Cities Community Development Corporation and Fitchburg State University to rehab the nearby B. F. Brown Middle School for low cost artist housing/studio space. New FAM Associate Curator Mary Tinti discussed FAM’s exhibition plans. Changing exhibitions will feature contemporary art made by New England artists, in both group and solo exhibitions. FAM will also continue the tradition of the summer annual Regional Exhibitions of At & Craft. FAM Director of Marketing and Community Engagement Jerry Beck described FAM’s plans for community-based public art in Fitchburg. FAM Director of Education Laura Howick described FAM’s classes and workshops for artists, teaching opportunities, and FAM’s new Community Gallery. This program is dedicated to exhibitions from local and regional schools, community organizations, and artist groups. Artists made the following suggestions: For FAM Expand beyond Fitchburg to embrace the entire region.

FAM should not be just a building with art, but a full cultural experience. FAM should program Film Nights. FAM should include musicians, dancers, and authors in collaborative programs. Artist-in-residence program (Vermont Studio Space cited as a model). Include performances by local musicians at openings/receptions. Readings by local authors. Fabulous weekend brunch, with extraordinary food and music (possible collaboration with Monty Tech). FAM should be encouraged to participate in cultural economy and economic development initiatives: Satellite galleries in Fitchburg and surrounding towns for shows by local artists. Program empty downtown storefronts. Collaborate with FATV: Develop a series that looks at single works of art “America’s Next Top Curator!” Create a documentary series dedicated to emerging New England artists Exhibition ideas: Artists with disabilities. Latino artists. Shows of international art. Design exhibitions.

Electronic exhibitions on FAM web site. Small solo shows. Exchange shows with artists from other cities/countries Invitational group exhibitions. Artist collaborations. Program ideas: Masked balls. Community members to write labels for artworks. Art therapy for children. FAM should provide assistance to artists: The Museum should provide a “lending library” of tools for artists. Conduct artwork documentation workshops. Low-cost loans to artists to support exhibition entry fees. Encourage local manufacturers to donate materials for artist projects. Art prizes/awards/grants. Critique groups (like the Artist Breakfast Club in Nashua, NH) Suggestions for the Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft: Lower the entry fees. Clarify communications to participating artists. Clarify Regional/Member’s participation. Continue to partner with Rollstone Studios on the Salon des Refuses.

Fix the entire broken system. Ideas for the B. F. Brown Building Open working studios. Artists in residence. Dance and music studios. Multimedia/new media studio. Open sculpture studio with tools. Fully-equipped studios with membership program. Restaurant. The meeting lasted for approximately two hours, and was marked by a lively and positive dialogue. Participants indicated that the meeting was most valuable, and another Artist Town Meeting should be convened in approximately 6 months.