When Karyn Alzayer of Integral Arts Everett and Mimi Graney of Chelsea Prospers began reaching out to their artist communities in Everett and Chelsea – they soon found that there was a need in the region to connect artists in those two cities and also in neighboring areas like Revere, Malden, East Boston and Winthrop.
Many artists felt isolated, and weren’t connected to fellow artists, with some of them having been displaced from areas like Cambridge, Somerville and Boston in recent years. When Alzayer and Graney began to talk with one another, they said they sensed a clear call to organize regionally.
“When I was putting together the Everett Art Walk last fall, the sentiment among the artists was they needed a network to meet other artists,” Alzayer said. “Then when I was in Malden, I heard the same sentiment. I realized there was a theme there. Then when I met with Mimi to work on some collaboration in Chelsea, she said artists she met were asking for a network. So, we decided this needed to be done.”
Added Graney, “We were looking for artists in Chelsea to do murals for our downtown initiatives. We found quite a few new artists here, but then found out none of them knew each other. They expressed a desire to have a more formal way to meet regularly. I met Karyn while doing the Chelsea Night Market last summer and she is a powerbroker. We were think of it for Chelsea, but found there was the same sentiment in Everett and surrounding communities. We felt this first schmoozing could bring about a spark…Gathering everyone together could maybe get some synergy.”
This month, on March 24, they will kick off an effort called Creative Mystic that looks to align and spark connections between artists in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Malden, Winthrop and East Boston. The event will take place in the Apollinaire Theatre in Chelsea (189 Winnisimmet St.) from 7-9 p.m.
Already they’ve had a great response from the communities, with 35 people signing up within 24 hours of going public with the effort. They hope to continue to get more artists from the region, and that includes all sorts of artists – from performance artists to musicians to the traditional visual arts media.
Alzayer said there is plenty of structure for artists in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. She said the North Shore also has a great existing network. However, the middle areas such as they represent, aren’t as connected.
“There are a lot of creatives in the middle here,” she said. “We don’t match up with Boston and we can’t go so far as the North Shore. There were enough of us here that it was a good idea to make these connections.”
Graney said one of the reasons people aren’t connected is there are a good many artists who are relatively new to the community.
“I have been meeting more and more people who have been displaced from East Cambridge or Somerville,” she said. “They lost their workspace and are moving to these areas. They’re bringing their organizational energy and know-how and hopefully it will help unite these cities.”
Alzayer said as a working artist, making those connections is critical. She said she hopes that by introducing artists from all over the area, it can lead to people contacting one another outside of the group.
If they hit a creative roadblock, they can text any number of fellow artists for some ideas. That can lead to new ideas or new directions, she said.
“We’re sparking ideas and we’ll see what happens,” she said.
While the first event will be in Chelsea on March 24, Graney said they hope to have a second event on May 1 in Everett. To register for the event, go to the Chelsea Prospers Facebook page or go online to Eventbrite under ‘Creative Mystic Meet Up.’