May Update: Covid, Construction, Connecting

DATE:  May 15, 2021     CATEGORIES:  Somerville Media Center Partnership

As we turn our faces to the spring sun and relish in its warm sustenance, I’d like to give a few key updates heading into a…dynamic? unprecedented? anxious? time for us. There’s a lot happening in our tiny pocket of the world! Please bear with me and forgive typos – its late but I want to get this out before the weekend overwhelms and the next week is upon us!

The move planning team (thank you all!) has done a great job wrangling a lot of information about our move. You can find the FAQ, latest timeline, and coordinating information at our Bookstack site here. Please do try and check in from time to time – its really great info.

Its incredible to have a window on everyone who is reserving studios small and large in our new home. So far 88 members have reserved studios between the Antwerp and Holton buildings. Another 13 Allston-Brighton residents have put in their requests. All told, Antwerp is at 75 percent capacity and Holton is approaching 50 percent. We’ll open reservations to Boston residents in June. If you’d like to reserve your space, you can use the survey here.

Artisan’s Allston studio reservations are coming along strong. We’re especially excited to welcome new Allston-Brighton neighbors!

Did you see Ariel’s extraordinary news? The Mass Cultural Council has placed a big bet on Artisan’s success as we fit up our new home. Like Ariel, I couldn’t be more excited, reassured, and proud of how this community is performing every day. Thank you for propelling us into an exciting future. Update: we also received news that American Tower is supporting the Education Program’s pivot to remote learning with a $15,000 grant. $5,000 grants from Verizon and the Boston Cultural Council were also awarded to the Asylum. Go team!

There’s exciting progress being made on our new home. Harvard has hired GenCon to perform both the landlord and tenant scopes of work, and they are a fantastic contractor. Of course, one of the many struggles along the way is going to be price volatility and the long lead times on materials. Breath held, fingers crossed.

Don’t forget: we have a tour of the site and an opportunity get a peak at the progress in 55 Antwerp on Thursday, May 20 from 3-5PM. – The address to circle up is 96 Holton Street, Rear (Bay 3). Please come around to the back of the building – we’re in the alley tucked between Blackbird Donuts and Red Sky Studios! RSVP to so we don’t leave you behind!

Word is, it was a success! Big thanks to everyone who turned out to support Artisan’s artists – Halley, Melissa, Dirk, Jori, Ilana, Ariel – we’re there others? It was a beautiful and sunny day, and foot traffic was strong. I heard good feedback that there were strong sales to boot! Most rewarding? It was the chance to see one another again, to connect face to face out doors and feel like life is returning to the very beginnings of normalcy.

This month multimedia and performance artist Daniel Callahan is the artist in residence at our Holton Street Annex. He’ll be testing out a performance that explores the mental health status of a Black artist in crisis. Look for an invitation to his closing talk and performance the week of June 14.

Daniel Callahan is a multidisciplinary and performance artist. His residency will develop a work that explores the inner life of a Black artist in crisis. Look for his presentation the week of June 14, 2021.

2020 990 FILED
Thanks to our #awesome audit partner Smith, Sullivan and Brown we have our 2020 tax filing behind us. While we still have lots of improvements to make in our internal controls policies and procedures, we’re making good progress. This includes areas that directly impact some of you – from reimbursements to timesheets. Thank you for your support and buy-in. Moving on to 2021!

We’ve all seen the news from the CDC, that they’ve lifted the mask rule for folks who have been vaccinated. However, in line with the Governor of Massachusetts and most local jurisdictions, Artisan’s is requiring that all members and guests wear a mask while inside the Asylum. We’ll update you if anything changes, but that is the rule for now: mask up!

AND – what’s new in your world? If you have some news to share, updates from your creative journey – please share! I’d love to include a photo and a paragraph in a special “Coming Out of Covid” member newsletter. Send anything you have to and I’d be thrilled to share it.

Thank you so much for your continued support of the Asylum – I’m going to need to lean on you pretty hard in the months ahead. Thank you in advance for being a champions of this space – I can’t wait to celebrate our collective crossing this wilderness with you!


Lars Hasselblad Torres, Executive Director
Artisan’s Asylum, Inc.