First Thursdays courtesy of MCC

We were thrilled to read Rhea Becker’s enthusiastic letter to the JP Gazette (August 11) about the contribution that our First Thursdays program makes to the vitality of our Centre/South business district and our neighborhood.

In response, we want to acknowledge the resources that have enabled us to present an expanded program in 2006—a mixture of art, poetry, movies, music and dance.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) awarded us a 2006 grant from their John and Abigail Adams Arts Program, a program that enables community-based organizations like ours to promote the creative economy in our own neighborhoods.

We qualified for the grant because of the matching funds we raised from more than 70 generous residents, business owners and nonprofit groups in JP.

MCC’s funding comes from the state Legislature, and at one point in the 2006 budget process, the Adams Program was cut out. Thanks, however, to support from our local elected representatives—Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, Rep. Liz Malia and Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez—and the leadership of Senate President Robert Travaglini, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senators Therese Murray and John Hart, and Representatives Robert DeLeo and Eric Turkington, Adams funding was restored. First Thursdays is one of the beneficiaries of their effectiveness.

We want to express our appreciation to the artists and performers who are sharing their work with the community through First Thursdays, to the businesses and nonprofits that host them, and to our community partners—Spontaneous Celebrations, Jamaica Pond Poets, Loring-Greenough House and First Baptist Church.

Since 2004, the First Thursdays program has sought to promote the arts and economic development in our neighborhood. The program has become a truly collaborative venture, and we thank the JP community for its participation and support.

Arva Clark and Frank Burns
Co-Chairs, First Thursdays, JP Centre/South Main Streets

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