Jared Bowen Heralds a New Art Renaissance at BCA Annual Meeting

By Meredith McCulloch

Jared Bowen of WGBH's Open Studios program spoke at Bedford Center for the Arts' annual meeting
Jared Bowen, WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning executive editor and host of Open Studios with Jared Bowen, spoke at Bedford Center for the Arts’ annual meeting

Those who live in the greater Boston metropolitan area are enjoying a new renaissance of art, according to Jared Bowen, WGBH Arts Editor and speaker at the Bedford Center for the Arts (BCA) annual meeting on May 21. Museums, theaters and public art abound.

“Much of this renaissance is tied to change, “ he said. “The first big change was a new mayor in Boston.” During the Boston mayoral race, responding to lobbying from the arts community, each candidate made a commitment to the arts. The new mayor, Marty Walsh, kept his commitment by appointing for the first time an “arts czar” for the city, Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We need to hold public officials accountable,” he explained “The arts are an economic engine in greater Boston, bringing in 1.4 billion dollars a year. This includes babysitters that people hire, restaurants, parking. More people participate in arts than all of the three major sports teams combined. “

He went on to list other recent developments in the Boston area art world. The Boston Symphony Orchestra has a new music director, Andris Nelsons. The Museum of Fine Arts recently announced their new director Matthew Teitelbaum, who will take up his position in August. Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum is flourishing. The Isabella Gardner Museum is planning an expansion. The refurbished, combined Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge reopened in November with a 40 percent increase in gallery space.

Theater is on the rise with over 60 groups participating in the Greater Boston Theater Expo last year.  Boston is showing more public art, such as Janet Echelman’s Aerial Sculpture on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, on display through early October 2015.

Bowen is the only arts editor remaining on Boston TV, as the commercial stations have shed staff.  He came to WGBH 17 years ago and moved from reporting to working as a production assistant with Emily Rooney on the show “Greater Boston.”  “I told Emily that we have little arts on our show, and we are an arts and culture station.” he explained. He has been a regular contributor to Greater Boston on WGBH, and more recently on his own show “Open Studio,” which is shown on WGBH, Fridays at 8:30pm.

During the business meeting following Bowen’s talk, President of the BCA Elizabeth Hacala thanked board members for their support during what had been a financially challenging year. BCA had a generous response to a recent appeal for members and donations. They anticipate a promising year ahead.

Bob Bass spoke about the Photo Groups that he leads.  They meet monthly and frequently have workshops. He stressed that they call in a Photo Group, rather than a Club, because it in non-competitive and photographers at all levels are welcome.

New board members are Bob Bass, Elizabeth Hacala (President), Barbara Hitchcock, Emily Mitchell, Joanna Nickerson (Secretary), Dennis Rainville, Ellen Ryan, and Anita Tarintino (Treasurer.)

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