Arts and Social Services

The five Marlborough neighborhoods all struggle, to varying degrees, with the absence of infrastructure to provide services in key social welfare measures: child care, health care, senior care, K-12 school programs, employment, housing, transportation, and access to healthy, affordable food, all of which are related to basic survival strategies. Above and beyond that, Marlborough demonstrates a distinct deficit in the kinds of opportunities that shift communities from surviving to thriving.

Other parts of the Catalyst plan focus more specifically on strategies that will remediate targeted problem areas and invent alternative future outcomes for a healthy, economically sustainable community. The Arts and Social Services study, while proposing specific, achievable opportunities, focuses a great deal on supporting and nurturing more intangible community assets – such as motivation, community pride, creative participation, belonging and happiness. As studies into the benefits of community arts have shown, their presence in neighborhoods can contribute to a reduction in school truancy, youth delinquency, teen pregnancy and social isolation, and an increase in civic engagement, population stability, real estate value, diversity, and cross cultural dialogue.  The ways in which arts programming achieves such a diversity of ends may not appear obvious, but their success derives from investing in people of all ages – from young children through adults and seniors – and fostering specific arts-related capacities such as:

• Learning problem solving, teamwork and marketable skills

• Developing perseverance intuition, creative vision, hand-eye coordination, self-esteem

• Developing leadership skills

• Developing decision-making skills

• Building cultural identity

• Building knowledge of, and engagement in, democratic processes

• Increasing social skills

• Learning how to access resources

• Encouraging self-expression

The arts and social services project and program opportunities that community–based working groups have identified as the most important related to this catalyst project are:

1. Develop arts programming at a community venue

2. Partner with the Constructing Futures Program of Jackson County to rehab a house that would become an artist live-work space

3. Partner with the Blue Hills Community Services program to develop a small business incubator/training program

4. Develop a signature arts/entrepreneurship event

5. Develop a public signage/communication system that will share community assets and achievements

6. Make a short documentary film about Marlborough

Seed Opportunities for future development include:

7. Hold regular contests for residents

8. Build on the existing annual Clean Up day

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