THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
A THREAT SEEN TO ARTISTS’ CO-OPS IN BAY STATE

Bill would put affordable options further out of reach

August 6, 2011

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RE “Spurned by co-op, man lobbies legislators again’’ (Metro, July 30): I believe that Frank Phillips neglected to explore the negative impact that proposed legislation would have on the state’s artist community. Cooperative housing addresses many of the issues faced by artists working in the Massachusetts creative economy. By restricting membership selection to financial criteria, this bill would make the creation of communities of interest virtually impossible. Without the ability to screen artist applicants for cooperative housing opportunities, it would be impossible to sustain existing communities or to create new ones.

It is incredibly difficult to provide affordable opportunities that meet the needs of the artist community in Massachusetts, so to place yet another obstacle in the way of encouraging the growth of the creative community would be counterproductive and indeed damaging.

Each time this issue has been brought before the Legislature, advocates for artist cooperatives have come forward to protest, and we will do so again.

Maxine Farkas
Lowell

 

Measure would sap efforts to expand creative economy IN RESPONSE to Frank Phillips’s July 30 Metro article “Spurned by co-op, man lobbies legislators again,’’ it needs to be mentioned that an important community would disappear if the bill passes: artists’ co-ops.

Given artists’ limited means, and the incredible lack of affordable live-work space in Boston, artists’ co-ops are vital to expanding the state’s creative economy, an economy that brings many desperately needed dollars to the state’s general fund.

As one who spoke at the hearing cited in the article, I strongly suggest that artists’ co-ops, whom Senator Barry Finegold, a cosponsor of the bill, agreed would be negatively affected, should be acknowledged in discussing this legislation.

Another of the many negative consequences of this unnecessary bill would be the disappearance of limited-equity co-ops, essential for keeping communities intact that are being endangered by gentrification.

This unfortunate fight about besmirched honor among the wealthy is regrettable. The consequences will not be so grand for the less well-to-do.

Don Schaefer
Boston