What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Ellen Walker, Special to the Gazette

First and foremost, Mission Hill Main Streets wants to thank both Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh for their extraordinary efforts in striving to blend both positive and supportive dialog in this unprecedented time.  There are many out there who deserve our gratitude – the EMTs, health care professionals, police and firefighters and the everyday person who steps in to help a neighbor.

As our focus remains on being healthy and safe as we all follow the guidelines and criteria set for by our local government, the CDC (Center for Disease Control), NIH (National Institute of Health) and BPHC (Boston Public Health Commission) among others. Our hearts go out to all residents, business owners and institutions as everyone practices their “Boston Strong” spirit.

In walking around Mission Hill, I stopped in to talk with a couple of the small business owners to get a sense of how they are handling these difficult times.  Keith and Lucia Patrick, the owners of Solid Ground Café at 742 Huntington Avenue, spoke to how hard it was cutting back on staff while trying to find ways to support them (this included a go-fund-me campaign) and handling the fluctuating numbers of customers.  On the day I stopped in, a local florist had donated bouquets of flowers to share with customers – a great perk if you are one of the lucky ones who stopped in!  Also, a local church group dropped in and offered their support.  Lucia and Keith remain upbeat and flexible.  Keith’s parting words were “stay positive!”

Next, I stopped in to speak with Matt Postal owner of Lily’s Gourmet Pasta at 1528 Tremont Street.  He has been in the neighborhood for 10 years and is as passionate about his work and his staff as he was the first day.  Like other small businesses, he is adjusting hours, staffing and finding ways to meet clientele needs.  Matt’s love for his business and staff is obvious and keeps him going every day.  “When this is over, I will be hiring more great staff!”  A positive look to the future by each of these owners as they graciously move through each day.

A big shout out to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as they recently gave away many, many gift cards from local businesses that were placed in the care kits they distributed at the Mission Hill testing sites for COVID-19.   Thank you BWH for investing in the community!

On another note, as the warmer season is approaching, Mission Hill Main Streets has chosen recipients for this year’s annual community appreciation event that is held in June.  The next time you are in Penguin Pizza at 735 Huntington Avenue, congratulate Dermot Doyne as Mission Hill’s Business of the Year.  An honor well-deserved!  The Volunteer of the Year is Dan Weldon who has managed the Mission Hill Little League for years!  Highly regarded by everyone and especially little league fans!  There are more awards and recipients to celebrate as we hope you join us at our 23rd annual event.  This will be a fun, joyful celebration when we can all come together again and celebrate the spirit of our neighborhood! 

On February 22nd, the Massachusetts College of Art & Design opened the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) at 621 Huntington Avenue with a stunning exhibit by artist Johanna Vasconcelos.  Over 2,600 people attended the opening day and, if you were waiting in line to be a part of this celebration, you would have noticed the upbeat, excited and fun tone that permeated the air!

Chloe Zaug, Associate Director of MAAM expressed her excitement over the exhibit space that works for major installations to be suspended from the exposed ceiling and beams.  This will allow for big, bold art to be displayed unlike anywhere else in Boston.  Students from the college assist with the exhibition installation, gaining practical experience.  Joana Vaconcelos, the artist currently on exhibit, was selected last year and spent months creating a spectacular sculpture with her 60 helpers that incorporated sculpture, fibers and textiles into her piece “Valkyrie Mumbet.”  If you have not seen this exhibit yet, watch for MAAM’s re-opening as it is something not to be missed – the colors exert energy and vibrancy!

Until next month, Mission Hill Main Streets wishes you stay healthy and safe!  Visit us on our webpage – www.missionhillmainstreet.com and “like” us on Facebook!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

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