Ideas and Vision for Culture and Arts in Malden

On May 11, 2017, a panel discussion about Arts, Culture, and Community sparked the imagination of attendees. The following ideas were shared after the panel discussion. These ideas are not yet organized. They will be. But here is what was shared.

If you have ideas, add them as a comment.


Building on the Arts Window [Window Arts Malden], partner with local restaurants and shops and Chamber of Commerce to sell art at Point of Sale (POS) where the business keeps a percentage of profit and the artist keeps the remainder.

Performing Art Center / Arts and Culture Center

Yes! A multi-use arts venue would e a great asset to the Malden (and surrounding communities).

Let’s get together and call for a performing arts center to help connect Malden and all its diversity!! Same idea: adding a Multicultural Arts Center

Make Central Fire into an Arts Center, CPA Historic $$ and build new fire station east of town

Make a recreation and Art Center that has a gallery and coffee shop

Sponsor Urban artists to Create murals and graffiti art on the Community trail surface.

Roving Musicians

Public Art

Creative architecture

How is Art going to be celebrated in the New city Hall? Local artist must be involved!!

What does community need the most regarding arts? Music? Choral? Jazz? Rock? Theatre? Dance? Do we need a personality to become a destination?

Yes, more than a baseball field theatre of dreams

Follow the models of places such as UnchArted of Lowell where they serve entertainment: live music, local art, food and booze

Who are the patrons in Malden? Thank them and encourage new art appreciation.

An arts venue, art displayed throughout the city; supported artists, musical performance venue and copious amounts of art and music festivals!

Supposedly obtaining money for a project so big is unimaginable, possibly providing a place interning financial assistance for young artists.

Increase the need for art in the schools – create buyers.

Celebrate the Malden River with interactive water sculptures!

Engage young people in joy of the arts to make for future artists

Utilize, capitalize on what Malden currently has to offer and EXPAND

We need to make connection with other towns and communities North of Boston to promote our art.

Public access to art


Installations: Augmented reality. Recycled materials

Work with Teen Center get it from the horses’ mouth – what do young people need creatively and soulfully? And on the other side – senior center classes, exhibits, wealth of knowledge and experience

Should Malden become an art go to? Theater, music, dance? Should we focus no one art form and develop it aggressively or do all?

The Three M’s: Malden, Medford, Melrose = is there a way to work together? Each town has a “focus’ (jazz, poetry slam, etc.)or have a large 3-city wide event to compete with the larger successful areas?

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Money Matters: Panelist Lainey Schooltree about arts (music) funding

Lainey Schooltree, a very thoughtful (and funny) composer, producer, and performer of a recent rock opera hit Heterotopia, was invited to participate in a panel discussion about Arts, Culture, and Community. Unfortunately Schooltree was ill and unable to join the live panel discussion on May 11, 2017. Not wanting to miss out on her thoughts about what enables and blocks her work as a creator, I asked her a few questions by email.

What do you do and hope to do with your artfosrm/s? Who is your community currently? And who are you wanting to reach (in terms of having an impact in some way)?

I’m a musician, producer and performer who has in recent years become interested in storytelling as a synthesis of various arts (constructing a strong story, crafting its telling through music and lyrics, creating an immersive live presentation through sound, light, and projected images), which I attempted to do in a rock opera called Heterotopia that I wrote for my art rock band Schooltree. My community locally is a mix of performance artists, musicians, comedians, and burlesque artists, all of whom I’ve been able to connect with across years of performing in Boston both as vaudeville entertainer and rock musician. I’m interested in reaching anyone who desires substance in an age in which it’s harder and harder to find, those who seek out the kind of work that you can dive into and find new things with each listen. One group I’m interested in connecting with is young people – they especially have a barrier to seeing Heterotopia live, due to the emphasis on alcohol in the medium and larger venues around Boston.

Regarding crowdfunding for Heterotopia, what were some transferable learnings? it was successful, why? at what cost? Is this something you would do again? recommend to others? and with what caveats? Did you have alternative funding ideas that did not pan out or seemed inaccessible?

I attribute some of the success of the campaign to my unwillingness to accept any other result, mainly because I didn’t feel there were any other options for the funding the project needed for completion. It was sort of a leap and the net will appear thing; I put all of my savings into the making of the album and ended up borrowing money after that, and it still wasn’t enough, mainly because as we worked on it our level of investment (personally, financially, time-wise) and the standard we wanted for it became higher and higher. There were no alternatives in terms of available funds at the time, though, so it had to be done.

I realized a day or so after launching the campaign just how (possibly overly) ambitious the goal of 18k was, and I panicked. I spent every minute of those 30 days emailing everyone I knew personally, reaching out to anyone who ever expressed an interest in supporting my endeavors, coming up with incentives, hitting social media. I got lucky and a friend with wide social media reach helped me out in the 11th hour (I didn’t want to ask for help but eventually I sucked it up).

To be frank, I have quite mixed feelings about crowdfunding. I’m glad that it’s available – otherwise this project would not have been funded to the degree necessary for the level of quality we felt it required. Independent musicians’ communities/fans have basically become their record labels, and that allows for more career flexibility and creative freedom. But asking people for money is hard, and humbling, in a field that is already pretty humbling on a day to day basis. And the time spent raising the money, managing it, creating and shipping rewards (all while you’re putting your all into the actual project you’re trying to fund) amounts to a full time job. It’s not “free money,” by any means. My advice to others venturing into crowdfunding for the first time is to take the time to fully assess a realistic goal and be prepared to pull out every stop to meet it. Then be prepared to work hard to both complete your project and keep your backers happy.

What gets in the way of you being able to create and do all that you want to do? What supports, legislation, funding sources, training, connections to other people/communities, market, compensation would enable you to do all that you want/imagine?

Paying bills, being organized enough to pay bills, even kickstarter rewards fulfillment (which have been taking up most of my time since the album was released). Project management also takes up a lot of time that I’d prefer to be writing. Schooltree was awarded a Live Arts Boston grant for our Heterotopia live show, which enabled me to hire people and raise the production value of the show substantially. That kind of funding means the difference between one person running herself into the ground trying to do everything and being able to manage a staff with the expertise and resources to spread out tasks across departments.

So what do artists need to flourish?

Sadly, money seems like the main thing. Money for living expenses, space, equipment, access to potential fans/consumers through distribution and publicity outreach. Within the current capitalist framework that is the main way to access these things.

Photo courtesy Hive Studio |

Photo courtesy Hive Studio |









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Panel Discussion about Arts, Culture, and Community

On May 11, arts changemakers were part of a panel discussion at the Malden Senior Center. This event, hosted by MATV, offered a conversation about how to increase the abundance of art in its various forms. A podcast is available. An edited video of this event will be forthcoming. Check back.

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Whole School Approach

A “whole school” approach to improvement – Fall 2016 – eColloquia – Lynch School of Education – Boston College

When Charles A. Grandson IV ’05, M.Ed. ’06, Ed.D. ’14, launched his career in education, he never intended to become a school administrator. “l thought, why would I leave the classroom, further removed from educating students?” he recalls.

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Malden Cultural Council Introduces Grant Award Winners

Inside Malden can exist in part because of the grant funded by the Malden Cultural Council. Thank you to the wonderful committee members who have made this possible and of course the Massachusetts Cultural Council that offers this local and other funding streams.

A snippet of the latest two interviews gives a flavor of the recorded conversations.

Coming attractions include:

  • Conversation with Grace and Chris of the “Idle Hands Brewery”,
  • Dr. Elissa R. Weitzman, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Faculty in the Computational Health Informatics Program.,
  • Shep Doeleman, MIT Principal Research Scientist, Assistant Director at Haystack Observatory,
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Warrior Spirit Scholarship

In February, a conversation with Mai Du, Sifu of the Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy aired, Instilling Hope and Inspiration in Younger Generations. Her drive to empower youth continues as she has just launched a unique type of scholarship, one that marks fortitude and perseverance as worthy of notice, the Warrior Spirit Scholarship.

To raise funds for the $2,000 that will go to two area high school students who “have shown exceptional perseverance in overcoming special adversity” individuals can attend a kickathon this Saturday and/or donate online.

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A study of a virtuoso’s brain

Recent study of virtuoso violinist Jennifer Koh’s brain offers rich content to the study of music and the brain. By observing her brain with FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging scan – known as an functional MRI) during various activities, further understanding for how music affects the brain is gained.

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Talking about Inside Malden on “What’s New? Malden”

Sam Baltrusis, coordinator of Neighborhood View, has launched a new show called “What’s New? Malden”. I appeared on that first episode along with Liz Taegel, Executive Producer of Release the Sounds, and Sharon Fillyaw, Executive Producer of another MATV show Shape Up Malden.

Baltrusis asked about the origins of Inside Malden, what’s new with Inside Malden, and what is coming. What a thrill to be part of the Neighborhood View family, an ever growing movement of citizens stepping into a role of sharing news, music, art, opportunities for fitness, and stories from inside Malden.

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YODA Comes to Malden

Y.O.D.A. fighting for Malden hospital site

Hi, I’m Liam Schwab, an 8th grader at the Beebe School in Malden. As you can probably imagine, this whole project to save the hospital site is very up-close and personal to me as a young person. So I decided to get involved. I started out by helping start Young Optimistic Daring Activists and the acronym is…YODA!!

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Three Cultural Organizations Collaborate for International Women’s Day in Malden

March 12, 2016 marks the first International Women’s Day Celebration that involved multiple cultural organizations. Over the last five years, the American Association for Arab Women (AAAW) has hosted this occasion to celebrate the achievement of women around the world. This year, the AAAW invited Mei Hung of the Chinese Cultural Connection, Ose Manheim, longtime Malden resident and Swedish expatriate, and Ose Schwab of the Nordic Vocal Ensemble Stämbandet, to join forces and offer a multicultural celebration for the women of Malden.

What emerged was a celebration of women through the lens of culture. Three discussions about women from three parts of the world: Morocco, Taiwan-China, and Sweden-Norway. It brought Malden’s diverse community together in meaningful conversation about the cultural influences and nuances of women in these three parts of the world and what that can mean to women now in Malden.

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