As early as this summer, Somerville could have a brand new shared space that’s part venue, part gallery, part dance studio, part community meeting space—and all ages.
Organizers Ronnica and Jess Schmid have an ambitious, inclusive vision for the forthcoming facility, which they’re calling Mystic Arts Collective.
The three-floor building not far from the Sullivan Square Orange Line stop would have an ADA-accessible first-floor venue for shows, dance performances and plays that could also serve as a gallery. In the basement, you’ll find rentable rehearsal spaces along with recording equipment and printers for area artists. The top floor will house art studios and a workshop space as well as a shared kitchen area, where people could host everything from community meetings to cooking classes.
“We’ve been looking for more inclusive, all-ages space in Boston,” Ronnica says. “There’s literally, virtually none.” She adds that this would be the first venue in Greater Boston built with inclusiveness, accessibility and positivity at the forefront. “A big problem with other spaces has been that they never focus on that until they start having to … by then it’s kind of too late.”
Along with Mystic organizers Devin Utah and Luke Paulino, Ronnica and Schmid—who play in the local bands Mint Green and Ozlo, respectively—envision the space as a volunteer-run community similar to arts collectives like The Silent Barn in Brooklyn or, more locally, Cambridge’s Democracy Center, which hosts everything from shows to poetry readings to yoga classes. Schmid calls the building a “multi-purpose artist sanctuary,” adding: “Any type of medium that you can imagine, we’re hoping to put in this space.”
If all goes according to plan, Mystic will be open by the summer. They’re currently fundraising to collect money for deposits on the facility, and in a little over a week, they’ve raised more than $2,000.
“I think people of all age groups will be able to agree that Boston has been needing a space like this for a while,” Ronnica says. And Schmid agrees.
“It’ll be so nice to have a fresh, new space that can be a clean slate—a fresh start, basically for this community,” she says.