Letters to the Editor

A successful Mission Hill Arts Festival

To the Editor,

What a wonderful tapestry we created together at this year’s Mission Hill Arts Festival! 

Artists, audiences, co-host, collaborators, sponsors, volunteers, and the welcoming Mission Hill community, we were all able to gather, explore interconnections, and share pleasant and remarkable summer impressions! An exciting celebration! 

Each one of the six events pointed to the power of viewing and approaching life from different landscapes, new assessments, or an unconventional direction. They delivered options to appraise one’s thought, position, or sentiment to ultimately enhance personal thinking and activity .and so softening prevailing stereotypes. 

From the enthusiasm and music dexterity of Matt Jensen as he shared his passion for Reggae while we admired LeShonda Zene’s paintings, to the profound, captivating, and touching presentation by multi-talented Abria Smith and her group during June’s performances. 

In July, the engaging music of pianist Leo Blanco carried us on an exploration of the rhythmic influences between Africa, Europe, and the Americas, while the Nebulous quartet mesmerized us with their mastery and fluidity in playing both known and original tunes. 

We ended in August by proposing Steve Painter’s non-representational visual artworks, and two jazz performances. The first showcased the Tyson Jackson quartet, featuring vibraphonist Sasha Berliner, with their riveting percussive abilities; the second and final event of this year’s series introduced us to Gregory Groover Jr., whose original adaptations of Negro Spirituals profoundly engaged the audience, and was a perfect representation of the festival’s spirit, theme, and signature dialogues! 

Now it’s your turn to interpret, to find the poetic, the essence, the alternatives, to elevate dialoguing, and so contribute to your community! 

We are beyond grateful for everyone’s trust, encouragement, real talks, suggestions, involvement, patience, support, and belief in the power of gathering and of the arts! Please continue to share your thoughts and suggestions! 

And since art establishes a ground from where values can continually spring up, we look forward to seeing you all again at the 2023 Mission Hill Arts Festival to continue opening ourselves up to new vistas!

Very important credits:

Organizations: 

• The Tobin Community Center, its Executive Director John Jackson, Program Supervisor Andrew Angus, and Assistant Program Supervisor Angel Parrilla, for granting access to The Yard 

• Mission Hill Main Streets Board and Executive Director Ellen Walker, for their support and vision for Mission Hill 

• Dan Vlahos, for the truly outstanding, original, and engaging festival’s logo and design, admired by all! 

• Celebrity Series of Boston Neighborhood Art, for believing in the festival and its importance for the community, and for their constant role in support of the arts 

• The Record Co., for kindly sharing our essential sound equipment 

• The following organizations, for valuing the festival through the awarding of grants, and for their commitment to our community:

Mission Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Trust 

The City of Boston, through the Boston Cultural Council City of Boston Credit Union

• The following news media, for your interest in covering the festival and presenting it to your audiences : 

– GBH Boston Public Radio: Margery Eagan, Jim Brau de, Aidan Connelly 

– The Bay State Banner: Susan Saccoccia

People:

• Artists, Matt, LeShonda, Abria, Leo, Kely, Claudius, Fabienne, Noah, Steve, Tyson, Sasha, Gregory, and all the members of your groups, you make the world a fascinating place and teach us how to work together and harmonize! 

• Audience, your presence is like beautiful flowers in a garden. Your fragrance offers support, insight, and strengthens the significance of the arts and the power of culture 

• Alex Fatato, you are skilled with all the sound cables and connections, but also excellent at problem solving, flexibility, teamwork, and professionalism 

• Nancy & Mort, providing the perfect welcome with your smiles. Your commitment to our neighborhood and to the festival is a sustaining force! And Nancy, your pictures are exquisite! 

• Robin Baker, Associate Director of Community Engagement at Celebrity Series, your collaborative spirit, enthusiasm, experience, and dedication to quality and advancement of the arts is highly valued 

• Robert Torres, whose expert eye sees and captures the artists’ professionalism and emotions in each dynamic frame 

• Stephanie Janes, for opening promotional doors to extend the reach of the festiva I 

• Lydia Polanco, whose vision for Mission Hill’s visual artists is vital.

Luisa Harris

Doctors urge vaccinations for students returning to school

To the Editor,

As schools in the Commonwealth prepare to open for the new academic year, the physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MCAAP) and the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians (MassAFP) strongly encourage parents and guardians to ensure that their children are up to date on all vaccinations and boosters, including those that reduce the effects of and transmission of COVID-19 and those required to attend school.

The importance of in-person learning and its positive effect on the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of children cannot be understated. Public health officials, school officials, school districts, and families must work collaboratively toward a shared goal of an academic year with as little disruption as possible. Vaccines are safe and remain our most effective public health tool to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 and interruption of day-to-day learning that will result from a significant increase of positive cases.

COVID-19 is still here, it is still a threat to public health, and there exists the likelihood of a surge in the fall and winter. Therefore, it is critically important that schools be prepared to shift quickly to preventive measures proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 should community data suggest a significantly increased risk of contracting COVID-19 within the school or in the community.

Our organizations will work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and continue to monitor key data and base real-time COVID-19 guidance on relevant and current public health data. We wish all students, school staff, and families a safe and productive school year.

Dr. Theodore Calianos, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

Dr. Mary Beth Miotto, President, Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Emily Chin, President, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians

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