Project MUM

On September 14, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Somerville Arts Council presents Project MUM, Saturday, September 15 9 p.m. – Sunday, September 16 1 a.m.

Members of SCUL Somerville’s long-term friendly chopper bicycle nerd gang, will be collaborating with local artists and performers to present you the 2012 edition of this well-loved outdoor dance party: Meet Under McGrath.


Rain or shine; suggested donation $10.


31 Responses to “Project MUM”

  1. Meme says:

    Funded by your property tax dollars. I would love if the Mayor would use one of his meritorious pieces that he writes here to explain why he thinks taxpayers should be forced at gun point to fun this things. Additionally his insight into the opportunity costs of spending money on “Somerville’s long-term friendly chopper bicycle nerd gang” versus bridge fixes or the school system.

  2. Paul says:

    I think it is great. I don’t know the projected income statement of this project, but there is a suggested donation of $10, Somerville Arts Council takes donations and it really can’t cost that much (it is not as though the space under McGrath commands high rents, that is kind of the point of this, isn’t it?). These kinds of things make the community stronger and have ripple effects of reducing crime, keeping property values up (which will create revenue for schools and bridge etc. This project is particularly effective because it psychologically brightens up an undesirable spot under the McGrath, which hopefully will be torn down sooner than promised. Also it is not an either or thing, he is working on the school system too. I’d rather than live in a vibrant place like Somerville than in Everett.

  3. Wig Zamore says:

    Someville’s artists uniquely define the creative potential of our individuals and community. Along with HONK, our Main Streets groups, Artisans Asylum and other, the artists’ public events very cost effectively and positively add to the diverse multi-generational character of Somerville. Pretty cool that Federal Realty’s historic EDSEL theme for Riverfest and the SCUL bicycle connection with MUM are happening the same day to kick off the Fall event season. Both should be celebrated. A belated thanks to Federal as well for their sponsorship of last Winter’s TEDx Somerville. That was brilliant. Really succeeding at Assembly Square will require a keen appreciation of all aspects of the local and regional creative economy – small and large.

    Cheers, Wig

  4. j. connelly says:

    “Under McGrath”, will the ACLU take action on behalf of the pigeons by this intrusion into their village?…Whatever you do at this event, make sure you dont look up…..LOL

  5. cambridgecyclist says:

    To be clear, this was not funded by the city’s property tax dollars. This was a volunteer effort and individuals freely donated their time and personal money to make this happen. The donations defray all of the out-of-pocket expenses for sound, video, light, generator, art production and rigging. The city, Somerville Arts Council, Nave Gallery, Mass Cultural Council and SCUL are all community organization that supported this event in some way — but that doesn’t mean that our tax dollars are being wasted doing things like this. We should count ourselves lucky to live in a community that allows outdoor dance parties like this, and countless other seemingly magical events, to happen. That is what makes Somerville so neat!

  6. Meme says:

    Are you saying the Somerville Arts Council does not receive money from the city, which is funded via property taxes? The budget says differently.

    Are you saying the Somerville Arts Council employees, (paid for with money from the city, which is funded via property taxes) did not have any part in setting up, distributing information or use other man hours?

    I never said the tax dollars are wasted, they might have been used very well. My issue is with my tax dollars being used for stuff like this. Period. There is an opportunity cost. The city has a set budget every years and funding things like this means there is less money to be spent on police, fire and teachers. Numerous outdoor parties, events and get togethers do happen in Somerville, but I don’t think the city budget makes it happen.

    The thing that makes Somerville so neat is the people in in that would do these great things without requiring forcibale taking ‘donations’ from tax payers and other city services

  7. Opinions Welcome? says:

    Mr. Zamore-how the events impact a community is an opinion, not fact as you’re stating it. As a long-time resident, I disagree, and I think that’s still allowed? I object to the noise, traffic, and your concept that these activities are inclusive. I also object to constant shutting down of wide areas for these parties. & whoever said it’s not taxpayer funded? the arts council is a city dept. The event said ‘brought to you by” them. Make sense to you? Who do you think puts up the signs, sends out notices to the neighborhood, tows/tickets cars that don’t move, cleans up, sets up power and a million other things that have to happen for these events? Yes, City EMployees, the over-looked portion of your parties. These events tend to appeal to one group of people. Nobody is looking at the community and trying to provide them to all. you can forget being part of them if you have a disability.
    I’d love to see the back-up “science” on their impact on a city.

  8. Ron Newman says:

    This event did not in any way involve “shutting down” any area, “wide” or otherwise. It occupied a space under McGrath Highway that is otherwise entirely empty and unused (no roads, no ramps, no parking lots, nothing is there). Most people arrived at the event by bicycle.

  9. cambridgecyclist says:

    Meme, you said that this event was “funded by your taxpayer dollars”. Let’s put that in perspective. The power, sound, light, setup, teardown and cleanup were all funded by individuals and not any organizations, so that’s not a taxpayer cost. Several community groups supported this event, and that support wasn’t necessarily monetary — support like help figuring out the permitting process, determining who owns the site, setting a reasonable date, choosing times, etc. And SAC is one organization out of many that was thanked for their help with this event. SAC is only partly funded by the city of Somerville — check the supporters page on their website — city funds pay for two out of 11 staffers. Suppose any SAC support took lots of time; 40 man-hours total. So 2/11s out of 40 hours of SAC’s annual man-hour time of 22000 hours was used to help this event along. That’s .00033% of SAC’s man-hour time paid for by city funds. According to the FY 2012 budget those salaries will cost $98,264 this year. We’re looking at an expenditure in man-hours expressed as dollars of $32.48 for SAC’s support of this event. The city’s projected revenues for 2012 are $182799999. The personal property tax levy for 2012 is expected to be $102975329.5, or 56% of the city’s projected revenues. So, conservatively, $32.48 out of 56% of the total property taxes for 2012 went towards this, or 0.0000001% of the total property taxes.

    Let’s say that every other organization and each individual supporter of the event each invested half as much time and energy as SAC, so 20 hours each into it (I am sure it was much more). There are at least 17 other people attributed to supporting the event on the projectmum website, so that’s 380 hours to pull this event off. If SAC’s support constituted 40 of those hours, that’s 10.5% of the project’s total time. So, 0.0000001% of your residential property taxes paid for 10.5% of the project’s total time (and this is a very conservative number).

    A better statement would be “10% of this event’s man-hour cost and none of the dollar costs were funded by 0.00000001% of your property tax dollars”. Whatever dude.

    It sounds like your beef is with tax dollars being used to fund SAC and other arts events in the city instead of funding teachers, police and fire services, and not with this event specifically (which has an incredibly weak link to city funds). I think the city prioritizes what the residents NEED (working infrastructure) and then any marginal funds left over go towards quality of life opportunities like fireworks on the fourth, ArtBeat, and other civic celebrations. I think dissatisfaction with government spending is something we can all relate to, though; there are plenty of things my tax money goes towards that I neither like, use, nor see the need for. However, the city exists to serve the needs of its citizens as a whole, even if one or many individuals may not want, need or use a specific service that it provides. I’ll take the bad with the good, though, because as a whole, Somerville is a pretty neat place to live and work.

  10. Theresa says:

    An American city finally doing something to give it a cultural pulse and this is the backlash. Maybe you should stop by next time and then you would understand why events like this is all part of the bigger picture of societal wellbeing. People better connected to their communities lead to more engaged and empowered citizens. And happier too which leads to less grumpiness on online threads.

  11. BG says:

    For some, $32 may be too high a price to pay for investing in the reputation, morale, and togetherness of a community; they feel that was money thrown away. To these people: I left my house, ate at a local restaurant, stopped at a local market (needed tin foil), later went to a different local market for snacks and beverage. Even if only a handful of us did anything similar (and more than a handful did, from what I saw), the city made a fine financial investment.

  12. j. connelly says:

    Anything that involves the use of the city no matter how big or small has an effect on everyone. Whether it be for the DPW to block off streets or walkways for the event, clean up after the event. Police officers assigned to the event, etc. It cost tax dollars. While the city officials repeatedly talk about the fiscal crisis we are in, it is nice to have events that everyone can take a breather and relax and enjoy.

    Common sense dictates that no matter what it is, road races, bicycle races, festivals etc., the cost involved using city agencies; Police, Fire, DPW, Ambulances, etc have to be addressed. More events using park areas should be looked at. The Bike Path goes all the way to Concord Ma and should be used for the road & bike races, thus less city services would be needed. The attitude to have all these events in tight fiscal times MUST be looked at as to the burden of cost placed on the city.

    States out west have put.. NO INCREASE IN effect as they all know that decades of mismanagement have caused the tight fiscal problems for their communities.

  13. A Moore says:

    I certainly do not want my tax dollars going to these things. They should be used for the business of running the city. These things that go on that close down public streets are not what I work and pay my money to do. It just gets worse here every year. Take a spot at Assembly and make it an event spot and leave the public streets alone.

  14. SomervilleorSlummerville says:

    I think the whole thing is not about the tax money… while that’s the talking point, but that these events cause a shift in culture away from the familiar to something …else.

    I personally welcome the shift, because I like the new Somerville’s culture, and I don’t own any property to pay the additional taxes as the property values went from “can’t give it away in Slummerville” to “OMG!!” to “sucks about the economy, but its still better than 1980.”

    Especially if I had invested in property and got to see my investment increase as a result of these “tax wasting events,” I would love these events and would pay .000000001% of my taxes to fund them, and see the shift in energy that makes certain neighborhoods safe again.

    Additionally to support people that don’t like this type of cultural event, I would even pay .000000001% of my taxes to keep Trum Field groomed for little league season.

  15. Ron Newman says:

    A Moore, this did not close any street.

  16. SomePeopleJustHateEverything says:

    @j.connelly: So you are basically saying we should never have any community events at all, because at some level the city is supporting it by placing an increased demand on public safety workers, etc. I find this argument pretty extreme and ridiculous.

  17. lonesome lobster says:

    I would say ganging up and exploiting an individual in the name of art isnt FREE any which way you look at it

  18. j. connelly says:

    @ “SPJHE” Evidently you were not at the top of your class in READING 101. I said… ” it is nice to have events that everyone can take a breather and relax and enjoy.”

    I was pointing out that due to the fiscal crisis & the economy other options should be looked at in not having as many events or working on a smaller scale. See if you have 5 apples and….never mind your math skills may be worse that your reading skills…LOL

    The increased demand is that either overtime or paid detail costs apply which adds up to a lot more money required. The fire & police donate some time for events, which a lot of people attending these events would not do, but like everyone else they are entitled to overtime.

    “SomervilleorSlummerville” Whether you own or rent…either way your paying towards the property taxes.

  19. Ron Newman says:

    lonesome lobster: what are you referring to?

  20. Ray Spitzer says:

    “why he thinks taxpayers should be forced at gun point to fun this things”

    Because it’s fun?

  21. OpinionsWelcome? says:

    Newman, you are the most annoying man in the city. i was referring in general to events shutting down areas. once a month a wide swath of neighborhoods is shut down for this stuff. You seem to be so limited that you can’t extend your brain & figure things out. and to the person saying he doesn’t pay property taxes, bingo – I do! Theresa – why don’t I drop by>? because i currently work two jobs to pay my city taxes. CambriCyclist your math is pure crap. The Arts Council must have an office, right? prob. has lights, staff, etc. You cannot pin down every dime. These events are focused on one segment of our ‘culture’. we’re entertaining them over & over with no thought to others who may want to be involved if you offered something a little different.

  22. SomervilleorSlummerville says:

    @opinions: So like, uh, offer it! – Heck, it could be really cool! write a proposal, submit it, get it approved, secure the manpower, permits, vendors, whatever you need to shape your neighborhood… do it, then you will win prizes!

  23. BG says:

    Can’t believe all these “I don’t want to spend a cent on community building” opinions. These are the very things that make Somerville great. Why are you people even here?

    Moreover, why can’t you comprehend the value the city and you receive from such reputation improvement and commerce encouragement? These are some of the things that end up affecting your property values, people; if you’re concerned about finances, encourage *more* of this.

  24. ResponseToBG says:

    BG, I agree with you mostly.. but keep in mind that many people complaining may not own property, so they don’t care about property values. In fact, if they are renting… they may want property values to go down. :-)

  25. OpinionsWelcome? says:

    uh, Slumerville, uh, i think i already gave the answer. duhh, maybe a reading festival is in order here. I HAVE 2 JOBS. I pay property taxes that are killing me. My point here has been that if you’re spending city money and using our resources, perhaps you could offer something that serves a wider demographic (sorry, types of peoples) instead of the constant one-note Arts Council we have. Think of children, elders, high school students, etc. What’s the attraction for them? You serve and attract only artists and perhaps dog owners. My parents would love to come out to some things. They saw some pretty foul stuff at Artbeat a few years ago, and won’t be back. Anyone here have an open mind and able to process simple information?

  26. cambridgecyclist says:

    OW, back your statement up with some real effort. Found an error? Great! Point it out! Until then you’re just full of hot air, grasping at more straws for an increasingly enfeebled position.

  27. Somerbreeze says:

    I have no objection to funding events like this, they are part of the heartbeat of the city…however…

    I’m curious just how many events sponsored by the Arts Council and City Hall are more tailored to slackers, post-grads and yuppies, as opposed to the whole gamut of Somerville residents…

    And I wonder just how many of those in the arts administration are native

    Just wondering….

  28. j. connelly says:

    In (as mayor Joe says) “These tight fiscal times” We cannot afford it.
    See the people who push for these things, while employees are laid off, businesses close, etc., have tunnel vision.

    The Federal Government is cutting funding for these “Arts” programs. Evidently the “Art Community” feels that everything else should be cut except them. When 1 permanent city employee is laid off we should not be funding positions for “Arts” The Arts people should all be volunteering to fill in the gaps.

    When the economy improves, then we should look at more of these events. In the meantime they should be cut back like all the other city services have over the years. There is less personnel and equipment in the city now than in the past.

  29. A Moore says:

    If people wnat to hold these events then they should take the responsability for it. We had events years ago here but we took care of it without using the taxpayers money. We had the event, cleaned up afterwards with no expense to the city. This is a time where the country needs to get started working on it’s debt problem and ignoring it won’t make it go away. I am no longer in a position to fund these things. It’s to the point where I can only take certain medications for half the year as my insurance runs out and I have to do without. Maybe others not in this position don’t understand that these little bits and pieces we keep adding to the taxes and so forth cannot be afforded by all of us. At some point I may even have to stop paying my property taxes if it gets worse. And I am not alone. I am not a taker, if I can’t afford it I do without. My house once of the the better looking ones on my street is just about the worse now and it will have to stay that way until it is the worst. I have been in this city for well over 60 years now so it’s not like I am a newbie.

  30. Ray Spitzer says:

    You see, Connelly, Arts folks are very good at playing “endangered species”, and so they can exploit the power of PC politics (so strong in the NE) for their benefit. It is hard to quantify the contribution of Art to society, really. So, I’m a bit more ambivalent than you are. I agree, though, that if some people are losing their jobs because funds are going to the Arts, then this is going too far. At times, however, funds can only be spent for certain things, so I’m not sure that the “Arts” expenditures could actually be used to save the job of the guy who was fired from some unrelated city job.

  31. Winter Hill Barney says:

    MUM sponsors and volunteers–

    All sane people appreciate your efforts and welcome your creativity. Pay no attention to the nattering nabobs of negativity. Instead of having outdoor street parties with their neighbors, grumbling on line is what they do for fun. To each his own.

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