This Is Who It Hurts-Part 1


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Kristina Kehrer's picture

The Loss of EMF – a rehearsal complex for artists and musicians

The resistance is not winning in Cambridge. Actually, it never really wins. Thinking back to the fight for Rent Control in the nineties and the Holmes building project in Central Square, it was definitely foolhardy to believe that the city, a rich landowner, or some philanthropic patron of the arts would save the EMF building in the name of art over money.

What these battles have in common are the valiant attempts by visionaries, who knew what would happen to this progressive, hip, funky, & creative city if we didn’t resist or balance the capitalist-greed machine pushing out the people who live for something other than: property values, 401k’s, and spurious liberal principals. What we have lost since the end of rent control (which triggered this new $ambridge/economy), is true diversity - the much-adored buzzword and long held calling card of a city steeped in hypocrisy.

The word “diversity” is another form of wealth that the city once considered a true currency. In order to have diversity, you need options in the housing market. Expensive condos are fine for people who want to devote their lives to their day jobs, but artists and musicians need many hours of the day to hone their crafts – and they need affordable spaces to be the crafts-people creating. Over the last twenty years, we have lost options. As a working-class artist, you either have several jobs to pay for your expensive apartment or are able to check all the right boxes to live in subsidized housing. There are hardly any options left in Cambridge except luck - if you’re lucky.

Artists, musicians, and eccentrics are an important quotient to the diversity of a community. They are the multi-colored threads and golden flecks, which seamlessly add to the fabric of a city. Woven together with the bland and the mundane, they create a beautiful tapestry that brightens and invigorates the environment, which becomes an oasis where people want to live and thrive.