Another Successful Tax Prep Season!

Here at Centerboard, we’ve had another very successful VITA season. VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. It is an amazing program that engages local volunteers and pairs them with that community’s residents who need quality tax preparation. The volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS and there is no cost to participate for those getting their taxes done. An important element of the program is to inform people on the various tax codes that may apply to them. One of these is the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is a refundable tax break provided by the state of Massachusetts in order to provide a meaningful boost to the after-tax earnings of low-income working families. It is available only to tax filers with earned income and provides benefits primarily to workers with children.[1]

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a valuable resource to working families as it provides some financial relief for those trying to stay out of poverty. We all know that poverty affects children the most and through this credit, hard working families are able to provide more to ensure that their children are able to live a healthier life.

During this year’s tax season, our VITA program was able to process over $200,000 in returns via the Earned Income Tax Credit. We were able to help numerous families while also providing a boost to Lynn’s local economy. Thanks to BMC HealthNet Plan for sponsoring this important community initiative!

 

[1] www.massbudget.org

Ghosts of Lynn Revealed!

This year, Centerboard and Visionspace Gallery were very happy to partner with Raw Art Works, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society and the Downtown Lynn Cultural District in the creation of Public Art 4.0 “Ghosts of Lynn”. The result of this year’s collaboration proved to be the best public art version yet with an amazing blend of historical photos and current day photos of Lynn’s downtown.

 On July 17th over 100 people attended the Big Reveal Party for the new photos. The event, hosted by The Daily Item’s Phil Ouellette, had a little something for everyone. The Northshoremen, a truly entertaining barbershop quartet provided a nice throwback vibe from a bygone era while DJ Seth spun a nice mix of soul, r&b and rock and roll. Paaastelitos and The Gulu Gulu Café offered refreshments and there were free popsicles for the kids, regardless of age! The artwork was created by Tyla Levesque and Justis McMahon, two students in RAW’s Real to Reel Filmschool. The oversized photos envelope Central Square with eye-catching colors and a fascinating look into Lynn’s past as compared to Lynn’s present.

 Centerboard is very proud of our public art projects. Taking the time to help the artists participate in the project, and raising money to produce the art is our way of saying that we take pride in Lynn and in these projects that are so important to the city’s turnaround.

 We think half the battle towards revitalization is connecting the citizenry with each other so everyone can come together and enjoy something their city has to offer.  We think arts and culture and our public art projects are just a small part of all of the other great stuff that is happening. Now that the “District” is in full swing, stay in tune by visiting www.dtlcd.org.

 A big thank you goes out to everyone who supports us in our public art endeavors and the residents, businesses and non-profits who continue to make downtown Lynn a cultural destination.

Ghosts of Lynn, Q&A, chapter 7!

This week we hear from Emily Ruddock, the newly named Director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District. We recently received some exciting news about our fundraising campaign as well! Warner Brothers, in exchange for shooting the movie "Black Mass" in Central Square, has offered up a challenge grant. The production company will match up to $1,000 in donations from today up until July 10th! You can visit our crowdrise page [HERE], learn more about the project and who is involved and best of all, donate to the cause! Okay, Emily, let's hear what you got!

 

What brought you to Lynn?
My job as the Director of the Downtown Lynn Cultural District brought me here.

What is your personal favorite public art installation?
The Play Me I'm Yours art installation by Luke Jerram in Boston last year is an example of the power of public art. Working pianos decorated by local artists and community members were placed throughout the city and people were invited to play them whenever and whereever they liked. I love the inclusive nature of this project and the concept that the art wasn't complete until inhabitants played the instruments.

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
"Far out!" I came to the downtown area in advance of interviewing for the director position, to get a sense of the district. I was impressed that public art was already a part of the district and loved the richness the photographs gave to the area. Now I just want to see more public art featuring local artists and community members.

Lynn, Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
Subvert it, then embrace it. I'm especially partial to the section "never come out the way you went in". Transformation can be a really positive thing and is at the heart of any arts or cultural experience. I want visitors to the downtown area to be provoked by the art they see, enriched by the cultures of Lynn and invigorated by events they attend. Sometimes a little sin can be a powerful agent for change...!

Starry Night or The Scream?
Starry Night. I had a super rad art teacher when I was a kid who introduced me to a wide spectrum of artists including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. The thing I love about Starry Night is it captures so much upheaval and turbulence but also depicts the beauty of the night simultaneously. The duality is what I love about it.

 

Play Me, I'm Yours in the Boston Commons!

Play Me, I'm Yours in the Boston Commons!

Ghosts of Lynn, Q&A, chapter 6!

Today brings us chapter 6 of our public art Q&A with various Lynners around the city. If you would like to donate to the "Ghosts of Lynn" project visit our PAGE and check it out! This week we chatted with Maleeka, a lifelong resident who founded Lynn's Knit-a-thon, a group of lovely knitters who make blankets to give out to families in need. Here is what she had to say about public art.

What brought you to Lynn?
Birth.

What is your personal favorite public art installation?
I may be a bit biased, but seeing my hubby's photo huge and on the wall under the bridge was an extremely proud moment for me. I found myself purposefully driving through Central Square just so I could see it again.

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
I thought it was a great addition and transformation to Downtown. It was nice to see something positive, inspiring, nice, big and prominent for everyone to see.

Lynn Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
I embrace it. Although I do get sick of hearing it over and over.

Starry Night or The Scream?
Starry Night.

Artwork of Jason Taglieri (aka Maleeka's hubby) included in last year's Public Art 3.0

Artwork of Jason Taglieri (aka Maleeka's hubby) included in last year's Public Art 3.0

Ghosts of Lynn, Q&A, chapter 5!

This week's chapter of our Q&A is with Mr. Seth Albaum, man about downtown and the author of the amazingly informative website Lynn Happens. If you want to know what's going on in Lynn, this is the place to check, especially the Weekend Rundown every Friday. We are of course still fundraising for the beautiful and Lynn-centric "Ghosts of Lynn" public art installation. You can learn more about the project and donate HERE. Read on to see what Seth had to say!

What brought you to Lynn?
I had been in Jamaica Plain a long time, but when my rent was finally raised, I had to look elsewhere. I was already working on the North Shore and decided to check out downtown Lynn on a Saturday afternoon. I found affordable space near and above storefronts in a city that's diverse, interesting and a little quirky. Perfect.

What is your personal favorite public art installation?
I don't know how to pick a favorite, but I can tell you that I prefer public art that is unexpected, challenging, or that incorporates some humor without having to hand feed you the joke. I'm less interested in accurate representations of things, unless something about the location or how it's placed makes the piece. Then again, I count among my favorites the tile mosaics of Jim Power in the East Village of NYC. Former Mayor Giuliani, no fan of street art, had many of them removed.

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
I loved how it brightened up the neighborhood and surprised everyone else (I knew it was going up) when they saw them for the first time. I love that they rotate on a regular basis so many artists have an opportunity to participate and passers-by will always have new artwork to look forward to.

Lynn, Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
Embrace it. In brainstorming for the Downtown Lynn Cultural District we decided to give it a much more positive spin. Coming to Lynn should be transformative in a good way. We borrowed the line, "You never come out the way you went in."

Starry Night or The Scream?
This is not a fair question! All I can say is this: I wouldn't want hanging in my home representations of paintings, no matter how great they are, that have become so ubiquitous they're in every college dormitory, printed on pillows, keychains, t-shirts and plastic drinking cups. The actual paintings are wonderful, but show me something I can't see everywhere I look, which goes back to how I feel about public art, I suppose.

 

Jim Power works on one of his mosaics in the East Village.

Jim Power works on one of his mosaics in the East Village.

Ghosts of Lynn, Q&A, chapter 4!

This week's installment of our Q&A blog series for The Ghosts of Lynn public art project spotlights someone who usually ASKS the questions. We decided to reverse roles with Chris Stevens, the fearless reporter and food columnist for The Daily Item! We are still fundraising for this cool project and its not too late to contribute. Your $30 donation sponsors 2 square feet of art! Learn more and donate HERE. In the meantime, here is what Chris had to say!

 

What brought you to Lynn?
Love & the Daily Item.

What is your personal favorite public art installation?
Oh so many come to mind! I love the guy on the books in front of the T-garage. In a cemetery in Woodstock, NY there is a tomb with the statue of a cat looking downward. It breaks my heart but I love it. I love the Einstein statue in front of the National Academy of Sciences in DC and the traveling piano always makes me smile (and wish I could play piano!).

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
I loved it! Our office looks out on Central Square, we walk by it on our way to Dunkin Donuts, City Hall, Raw Art Works, Dunkin Donuts...did I say that already?

Lynn Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
Embrace it! You never go out the way you went in doesn't have to be a negative! Maybe you came out better, smarter, more well-enlightened, definitely well-fed.

Starry Night or The Scream?
Depends on the day---I do love my Starry Night though (and now Don McLean's "Vincent" will be stuck in my head for the remainder of the day).

 

Ghosts of Lynn, Q&A, chapter 2!

Yep, we're still fundraising [DONATE HERE] for the awesome big photos in Central Square that the students in RAW's Real to Reel Filmschool are doing. For this week's Q&A we figured we should hear from an alum of that program. Up this week is Brian!

What brought you to Lynn?
I went to RAW's Real to Reel Filmschool in high school and last year interned with the Downtown Lynn Cultural District. Now I work at the Lynn Museum!

What is your personal favorite public art installation?
Os Gemeos. It was a 70' x 70' temporary mural on the Air Intake Structure on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
I thought "Whoa, what are these photos doing here?" I was pretty excited about it!

Lynn Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
Embrace it as part of the embedded culture!

Starry Night or The Scream?
Starry Night. I like the bright colors...

Os Gemeos in Boston.

Os Gemeos in Boston.

Raising funds for new public art!

Well, its that time of year again...time for some new big photos down at the Central Square bridge! This year's installment brings together 4 arts organizations for a super cool collaboration called "Ghosts of Lynn". Visionspace Gallery, Raw Art Works, the Lynn Museum & Historical Society and the Downtown Lynn Cultural District are teaming up to produce photos that we think every Lynner can relate to! Without giving too much away...the Museum provided historical photos of Lynn and the student's of RAW's Real to Reel Filmschool are linking them to the present. We are currently raising money to pay for the production costs of the photos and you can donate here.

In the meantime, we thought we'd give everyone the opportunity to learn more about those involved in the project, in a whimsical sort of way. These are just some of the dedicated people (there are MANY) who are working hard every day to add some positive energy and results to this town we all love. This town called Lynn!

First up is Carla. She works at Centerboard, which is the non-profit that owns and operates Visionspace. We wanted to keep it light so we came up with a fun Q&A for her to answer. Here is what Carla has to say!

 

What brought you to Lynn?
Well, I am from Lynn. I lived away for a long time but always kept my eye on the happenings. When I moved back, I wanted to be involved so I started volunteering and then eventually got my job at Centerboard.

What is your personal favorite public art installation? 
The Krog Street bridge overpass in Atlanta is definitely a favorite. At some point in time, the top span of the bridge became a canvas for different artists, musicians and activists to promote their events and causes, in a public, street art kind of way...                                                                   

What was your reaction when the big photos first appeared?
I immediately thought "Wow, something cool is going on here!                                                       

Lynn Lynn City of Sin, ignore it or embrace it?
Embrace it! Everybody already knows about it, take the ball, flip the myth, and run with it!   

Starry Night or The Scream?
Definitely Starry Night.                                                                                              

The Krog Street tunnel in Atlanta.

The Krog Street tunnel in Atlanta.