On Stands Now: Arts & Architecture

“Ridgleys Whimwire” by Rachel Mello

You’re looking at the 50th edition of Scout Somerville, and it seems fitting to honor this milestone by zeroing in on two of the things that make this city so special.

No one who’s lived in Somerville needs to be told that our dynamic artistic community is deeply integrated into the fabric of the city. But the figures are still striking: Somerville is home to the second highest number of artists per capita in the country, following only New York City, according to the city’s website.

We took this opportunity to speak with some visionary local artists who show the great versatility of the artistic community and poked our heads into museums, the buildings that gather local art—whether historical, tiny, or bad.

But everyone who’s lived in Somerville also knows about the challenges that face artists and many other residents: rising rents and disappearing space. We asked leaders of the city’s art centers to weigh in on what the future holds for Somerville artists, as the abandoned buildings that once became artistic spaces dry up.

Which brings us to buildings. You can see old Somerville structures mixing with architecture from the city’s recent renaissance, can see how the city pays homage to its historical routes by renovating buildings for future-oriented uses.

As writer Matt Ellis reminds us in his article on the Somerville Museum, this city has a lot of history under its belt. And throughout that history, some truly bizarre buildings have been built, saved, and sometimes repurposed. In this issue, we take you on a tour of those curious buildings.

A prime example of reusing old, bizarre buildings for experimental purposes is Bow Market. We spoke to the owners of the marketplace to learn about how they reworked the “vaguely pentagonal” complex, and to get the rundown on the building that is sure to help shape the future of Union Square.

Our arts scene and our architecture are huge parts of Somerville’s identity, and we enjoyed taking this deep dive into our roots. We hope you enjoy it too.

You can find Scout Somerville at more than 200 locations throughout the city (and slightly beyond its borders). Check out a complete list and map and of our pickup spots or sign up for home delivery, and learn how your business or organization can carry Scout here.