Editorial: Resurrect cemetery art

November 4, 2011
By

A cemetery killing a Day of the Dead ceremony: The arts situation at Forest Hills Cemetery is now truly a joke. Problem is, it’s on JP.

The cemetery, via the Forest Hills Educational Trust, once had a renowned slate of exhibits, festivals, poetry readings and concerts. In January, it suddenly pulled the plug on all of it under the absurd pretense that maybe it was all a mistake. An unscientific visitor survey took the place of art.

No one has produced any results of that survey. The cemetery brought back the popular Lantern Festival and some walking tours. But this week, without notice and even without consulting its organizers, the decade-old Day of the Dead ceremony was buried alive.

What contempt for La Piñata, the Latino youth organization that holds the “Tzompantli” Day of the Dead event. What an insult to all of JP.

It appears that this waste of cultural resources comes down to an internal turf war over what kind of art is appropriate in a cemetery. It’s certainly reasonable to question whether, say, installation art should go atop people’s graves. Let’s have that discussion openly.

The City Council’s arts and tourism committee should hold a hearing, perhaps in the cemetery’s Forsyth Chapel. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council should make this a top agenda item.

We should not let arts at Forest Hills Cemetery rest in peace.

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