Somerville Arts Council News   
A fiery salsa dance party, a new birdhouse, and murals on-the-way!

August and September 2019 

Mark your calendars!

This year's delightful Ignite artwork is by Jef Czekaj! 

August and September Events

Saturday, August 10, 6-10:30pm (RD: August 11) 
Ignite Festival
Union Sq

Thursday, August 22, 6-8pm
Meet and Greet with Visiting Muralists
East Somerville; stay tuned for more details

Saturday, August 24, 3-7pm (RD: August 25) 
Black, Brown & Queer Festival
Union Sq; Facebook page here

Saturday, September 7, 3-7pm 
5th Evolution of Hip Hop Festival
Union Sq; Facebook page here

Sunday, September 8, 12-5pm (RD: September 15)
Rock & Roll Yard Sale
Union Sq

Saturday, September 8, 11am-3pm 
Dog Festival
Trum Field, 548 Broadway

Sunday, September 15, 2-6pm 
September SomerStreets: Strike Up the Band
Highland Ave. (School St. to Lowell St.)

Saturday, September 21, 3-7pm (RD: September 22)
Fluff Festival 
Union Sq

Tuesday, October 15
LCC Grant Deadline
See workshop dates in story below

B.Y.O.W.B returns for Ignite!

The Quench Buggy will be at the center of the Ignite festival for you to fill up your own water bottles! 
Did you get the chance to catch this refreshing buggy at ArtBeat? We are happy to announce that the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will be bringing their Quench Buggy to the Ignite Festival, this Saturday too! The buggy will be parked in the heart of the festival, so: 

B.Y.O.W.B. (Bring Your Own Water Bottle)! 

This year, we ask that you bring your own water bottle that you will be able fill up as many times as you want at the buggy. Let's try not to buy or bring any plastic bottled water to the festival. Thanks in advance for your participation! 

Ignite Festival brings food and flames to Union Square


The tiger makes a triumphant return this Saturday, August 10th, from 6-10:30 in Union Square Plaza, ending with a salsa dance party.  See you there!

To celebrate Union Square's zesty and diverse food offerings, we bring you: Ignite, an evening of international eats, fire throwers courtesy of Boston Circus Guild, roving entertainment, and a raucous celebration of global culture.

Local food vendors will include Dakzen, 7ate9 Bakery, Masala Square, Nibble (over-the-top classic Brazilian hotdogs and also Bolivian quinoa products like minty quinoa horchata), and numerous other restaurants!

There will be belly dancing, Brazilian capoeira, Mexican Son Jarocho, food demos, a Nibble Nose Olympics, magicians, a photo booth, a tarot card reader, and to top it all off, a full-on salsa dance party led by Metamovements.  

Check out the full line-up here. 

Luxury bird condos

Christopher Frost's installation, "Annex," can be found on the bike path near the intersection of Cedar Street. 

SAC grant winner Christopher Frost recently completed his community benefit project -- and we love it! Like all fellowship winners, Christopher conducted a small art project as a way to give back to the community before collecting his grant money.  His new installation, "Annex," located on the bike path near the intersection of Cedar Street, is up now and ready for all visitors, both human and bird. 

We thought we'd ask him a few questions about his work:

Somerville Arts Council: What type of art do you do?
Christopher Frost: My work takes many different forms, but it is mostly three-dimensional. I work with many different media, often at the same time, including wood, metal, concrete, painting, and ceramics.

SAC: What inspired this piece, "Annex"?
CF: Initially, I was thinking of the birds. How amazing would it be to give them not just a simple birdhouse, but a space of this magnitude? What would it be like to create a place where birds can congregate together? I really hope that the birds notice and enjoy this home.

SAC: What are you anticipating in terms of the public reaction from local residents of the human variety?
CF: I like the idea of people looking up, not just at their eye level or down at the ground when they are outside. It's not often we notice things above our own eye level. I really hope that it invites folks to think about our urban wildlife as well.

QTPOC Festival coming to Union Square

Poster by Arielle Gray
The Somerville Arts Council is partnering with Oompa to present the Black, Brown & Queer Festival - a QTPOC (Queer, Trans Person of Color) multi-disciplinary arts festival, scheduled for Sat., Aug. 24, 3-7pm. Often, QTPOC artists are asked to bring one part of themselves to the table and to leave or hide others. What is a safer space for one identity does not cross the intersections into other identities, and often QTPOC artists leave feeling exploited and unseen as a result. This festival is loud about wanting to name, create, and cultivate a space that sees QTPOC artists as whole people with intersectional stories and selves to share.
This festival features a wide variety of genres including drag, punk music, hip hop, poetry and more! Also featuring visual artists and interactive art! 

The lineup features: DJ Lady Ly,  Porsha Olayiwola,  Golden,  Red Shaydez,  Brandie Blaze,  Paper Citizen,  Optic Bloom,  Mint Green,  Neon Calypso  Neon BLK,  Just JP. 

Flaming Curry Challenge at Ignite
    Have a taste for heat? Then head to the Flaming Curry challenge table; pass that test, and put your name in a raffle to be chosen for the curry speed eating contest. 

The incendiary ghost pepper

Masala Square and the Somerville Arts Council's Nibble program are teaming up to host our first ever Flaming Curry Challenge! Masala Square is a small family-owned business in Union Square that is proud to give you a taste of the spiciest curries on its menu. Check out the Flaming Curry Challenge booth where Nibble heat specialists will administer two of Masala Square's most fiery curries, one featuring peppers from the family's pepper farm in Punjab, India, and the other featuring Bhut Jolokia (ghost peppers).

If you can handle the heat at the Curry Challenge booth, we invite you to participate in the full plate curry eating contest, to be held at 7:20pm; whoever can eat a whole plate of fiery curry first wins a $50 gift certificate to Masala Square and a Nibble apron. If you're foolhardy enough to want to take part in this incendiary eating contest, put your name in the raffle box at the curry challenge table and we'll announce the four contestants at 7:30pm.

We challenge you to show us your spice level capacity!

Muralists flying into the 'Ville!

Salvadoran artist Carlos "Calo" Rosa is coming to Somerville this month to paint a new mural in East Somerville. 
The City of Somerville will be getting three new murals in August and September, thanks to a mini mural festival by the City of Somerville and Somerville Arts Council. From August 16 through August 30, three internationally-renowned artists will be painting murals in the East Somerville, Union Square and Central Hill. 
The artists lending their creativity to Somerville's newest murals include Calo Rosa, a Salvedorean artist from Philadelphia, Imagine a Nepali artist, Somerville resident and Pascal Michel from Haiti. These artists will be painting contemporary street art on local walls highlighting the diversity of their own backgrounds and the diversity of Somerville and its residents.

On Thursday, August 22, from 6-8pm, join the artists for a meet and greet and Q&A session in East Somerville. We will get a chance to hear from the artists about their inspiration for their work, their process, and their experience making work in Somerville. Come mingle with the artists, other creatives, and community members! 

Arts funding available - Deadline Oct. 15th
Are you a cultural organization (like Xuchipili Ballet, who performed at our Ignite Festival last year) that seeks funding? Consider our Cultural Heritage category!
Funding is available for individuals, schools, community groups and non-profit organizations in the fields of dance, film/video, literature, theater, music, visual arts, interrelated media, cultural heritage and cultural infrastructure. Grants may be used for after school and summer programs, school residencies and field trips, artist fellowships, arts events, exhibitions, public concerts - and more. 

We are especially encouraging applications to the categories of Cultural Heritage (create a walking tour of immigrant history or start a Latino book club - the possibilities are endless) and cultural infrastructure grants (hire a consultant to help restructure your organization or consider updating equipment or signage).  

LCC Grant workshops
Wednesday, September 11 from 6-7:30pm
West Somerville Senior Center (TAB Building) 2nd floor
167 Holland Street, Somerville
Thursday, September 19 from 3:30-5pm
Somerville Public Library (Central Branch)
79 Highland Ave, Somerville
Monday, September 23 from 6-7:30pm 
Mudflat Pottery School
81 Broadway, Somerville

*Note: We are currently updating our guidelines for 2020. As we are finalizing the content, feel free to review LAST year's guidelines  to familiarize yourself the material.  The 2020 guidelines will available later this August.

Discover Union Square markets - and Nibble Kitchen!
Come on one or our super social group tours of Union Square international markets, where we'll meet delightful shop owners like Nora Cabrera of La Internacional. 
We just had a tour this past week, and we had a blast.  We visited three different markets and ended with a quick tour of the new Nibble restaurant. We've got a September tour lined up with a few slots left - sign up soon!

Here's the deal...Come to Union Square and take a vicarious shopping trip around the Globe. We'll visit three of the area's many international markets, learning about products like Korean gochugang, Nepali sweet hog plum, and Mexican epazote, and exploring how food tells stories about culture. We'll begin and end at the Nibble Kitchen Restaurant at Bow Market where we'll share delicious insider-y information about this exciting new project!

Nibble Union Square Market Tour
Sat., Sept 7, Noon-1:30pm
Limited to 10 people per tour; to sign up, email: rstrutt (at)

Nibble Kitchen cometh...
Thanks to Las Carolinas for creating this great poster of our Nibble team. Our chefs hail from countries like Brazil, Bolivia and Bangladesh. 
Before you know it, there will be a new restaurant at Bow Market in Union Square: Nibble Kitchen! Like all new restaurants, there have been a few last-minute hurdles, but we're thrilled to be reaching the finish line. 

The Menu

Wed. nights: Venezuelan arepas
Thur nights: Bolivian quinoa balls and drinks
Fri nights: Brazilian street food
Sat mornings: Rotating (Bengali, Greek, Arepas)
Sun mornings: Venezuelan arepas
Sat and Sun evenings: Ethiopian food

Expect an early September opening. To stay in the loop, like us on Facebook

Mission: This unique restaurant will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to test restaurant concepts in a low risk environment while promoting cultural exchange through globally inspired food and dynamic cultural programming. With a focus on our immigrant communities, Nibble supports social justice and diversity. Nibble Kitchen aims to keep Union Square diverse and delicious!

Meet Chloe!
Hi, I'm Chloe! I've been the Arts and Culture Program Intern here at the Arts Council all summer.

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and relocated to Western MA for my undergrad at UMass Amherst, where I studied English, Philosophy, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. While in school, I worked at the University's radio station, WMUA 91.1FM, as the Music Director for many years. Nowadays, I split my time between working on a vegetable farm in Greenfield and at a pie bakery in Florence!

This summer internship provided me with a change of pace in work (let me tell you - being in this air conditioned office once a week is so different compared to working out in the dirt on a farm all day!), and has also helped to rekindle my love of art, music and event planning that I developed back in my college radio days. I am so grateful for the opportunities that the Somerville Arts Council has provided me - from helping to book music for festivals, to organizational programming work, to day-of event management.

The Somerville Arts Council is a municipal agency of the City of Somerville
Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor

Stay connected to the Arts Council

Somerville Arts Council, 50 Evergreen Avenue, Somerville, MA 02145
617-625-6600 Ext. 2985