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Yard sale aftermath, Somerville, Mass." Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.
Yard sale aftermath, Somerville, Mass." Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.

Superintendent Search, ArtBeat Returns, and More!


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Superintendent Search Begins

After seven years leading the Somerville Public Schools, Superintendent Mary Skipper was hired last month to be the next superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. A Boston resident, Skipper previously worked in Boston as a teacher and an administrator.

In a statement on July 1, School Committee Chair Andre Green wrote: “Over the last seven years, Somerville has been fortunate to experience the deep commitment that Mary Skipper brings to her work and to the students, staff, and communities that she so passionately serves. Her exceptional work in Somerville will live on because her work as a leader is about building community in service of our students. We are so grateful for her tireless work, for always leading with kindness and compassion, and for her unfailing commitment to doing what’s best for kids. We look forward to hearing about her great work in BPS and in the Boston community in the years ahead.”

The School Committee is forming a subcommittee to interview candidates to become interim superintendent. They expect to recommend finalists by early August, Green said. The School Committee also plans to hire a search firm to help with the process of finding the next permanent superintendent.


ArtBeat Returns

ArtBeat, the Somerville Arts Council’s annual multicultural arts showcase, returns to Davis Square this Saturday, July 16. Now in its 36th year, ArtBeat features an eclectic mix of music, dance, theater, food, performance, and other multicultural activities, drawing thousands of visitors.

This year’s theme is “Rise.” Artists will literally and figuratively interpret the concept, incorporating it into their performances and pieces. Artists and community members are encouraged to consider how we might rise to further our dreams and goals, and rise up to fight inequality.

ArtBeat kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with a parade led by School of Honk. Community members are invited to join in. Participants will meet at the Community Bike Path at the intersection of Grove Street and at the Bikeway Community Garden.

From noon to 10 p.m., diverse musicians will perform in Seven Hills Park, the Elm Street Stage (corner of Chester Street), and Statue Park. Somerville Theater will host a Dance Showcase with a variety of performances. The festival will also feature about 100 craft and food vendors and community groups, as well as roving performers, caricature drawing, face painting, bubble making, hopscotch, and more!

And the swell folks who bring you the Somerville Wire (the online local news source that you’re reading right now!), along with other journalists from the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, will be at the Somerville Media Fund table at ArtBeat. We’d love to meet you! Come and tell us what issues you would like us to cover.


Help the City Spend ARPA Funds

Mayor Katjana Ballantyne is building an ARPA Advisory Committee, and all Somerville residents are invited to apply.

The American Rescue Plan Act is intended to support an equitable and prosperous recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ARPA Advisory Committee will be a diverse group of 15 constituents who will work with the mayor to create broad funding guidelines for Somerville’s ARPA program. These guidelines will provide a basis for city staff to solicit and judge applications, and for the public to have a transparent view of how this once-in-a-generation funding source will be spent in our community.

The ARPA Advisory Committee will not review any ARPA funding applications, and its members may not submit any ARPA funding applications during their time on the Advisory Committee.

The mayor seeks committee members from a broad range of life experiences and demographic groups: renters, low-income residents, residents of color, immigrants, speakers of languages other than English, members of the LGBTQ+ community, youth, seniors, Somerville Public Schools parents, business owners, local workers, artists, nonprofit organization staff, and others are all encouraged to apply.

The Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesdays from Aug. 17 through Sept. 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This is a volunteer position. Advisory Committee members will be confirmed by the mayor.

Applications are due by July 29. To apply, please visit the City’s ARPA information page,  or contact Erica Satin-Hernandez, ARPA Specialist, at, or 617-729-5042.

Photo Credit: “Yard sale aftermath, Somerville, Mass.” Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2022 Jason Pramas.

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

All Somerville Wire articles may be republished by community news outlets free of charge with permission and by larger commercial news outlets for a fee. Republication requests and all other inquiries should be directed to Somerville Wire articles are also syndicated by BINJ’s MassWire state news service at


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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

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