I moved around a lot growing up, so when I relocated with my spouse back to his hometown of Hingham, it was a new experience for me. I was happy we could raise our children surrounded by extended family and traditions. My kids are very fortunate to have these daily connections and a strong sense of place. One thing I remind them of regularly, though, is that there are many ways to define home. And though I didn’t have a permanent residence to call home when I was their age, I did have a community.
That community was built around the arts.
As a board member of the new Hingham Arts Alliance, I am thrilled to be able to work with other committed residents to enhance the arts community in our hometown.
The arts were always a constant in my life, whether it was being a part of the storytelling festivals in Tennessee, our civic theatre in North Carolina, or my high school drama departments in Michigan and Brussels, Belgium. More recently, I’ve joined a vibrant, virtual arts community with the many connections I’ve made with other authors far and wide.
I’ve now found a welcoming space in the growing community of artists and arts supporters in Hingham. When I was approached last year to join the group of Hingham residents working to create an organization centered around the arts, it was an easy yes.
Our first task was straightforward. We advocated for the hiring of an arts director for the Hingham Public Schools. Many of us had been pushing for the position since before the pandemic as our town was one of the few around without a director-level position in the arts. With our voices united, we secured the art director position and launched the Hingham Arts Alliance by Spring 2022. The organization's mission is to enhance support, advocacy, and awareness for the arts in the Hingham schools and community.
The Hingham Arts Alliance is off to a great start. We’ve heard from many parents with children in the Hingham schools about how pleased they are to finally have a booster organization in the arts space like the role Hingham Sports Partnership occupies for athletics. We recently helped the HHS Visual Arts Department fund a visiting artist in Raku firing techniques for ceramics. We plan to expand our support and enhancement of the arts curriculum at HHS, and we’ve set parameters for the issuance of grants to support arts endeavors with details available on our website.
At the same time, we’re using our growing platform to highlight the arts all around us in Hingham. Our popular artist spotlight series on Facebook and Instagram has profiled artists of all ages, arts, and abilities. We hope that the growing support for the arts in our town combined with our organization’s advocacy will help expand the arts curriculum offered in the Hingham schools and begin to address issues such as low enrollment, scheduling challenges, and access for all. As we note in our mission statement, “[i]nvestment in the arts is more important than ever, for our kids, our schools, and our town.”
In the months and years to come, the Hingham Arts Alliance hopes to broaden its involvement and financial support beyond the Hingham schools, bringing more arts opportunities to the town as a whole and to some targeted populations like our seniors. In the meantime, we have been highlighting local, professional artists and arts-focused businesses to help boost creative professionals and the many arts-related spaces they inhabit in our town and the wider community.
As we grow our arts community, we hope all Hingham residents will take part. There are many ways to get involved. We are seeking donations to fund our grant program. We are looking for artists to profile for our ongoing spotlight series. We have volunteer opportunities for arts events such as the recent Arts Walk in Hingham Square.
Our first annual fundraiser—Party for the Arts—will be held at the Hingham Community Center on Saturday, March 11. The night will be a great opportunity to bring together our growing community to celebrate the arts in all forms and affirm our commitment to supporting and enhancing the arts in Hingham.
I’ve now lived here for almost twenty years. Hingham is home. With a vibrant arts community and continued investment in the arts, together we can make Hingham a home and community that’s even more welcoming to all.
Monica Tesler is a Hingham resident and a Hingham Arts Alliance board member. She is the author of the Bounders series, a science-fiction adventure series for tweens and teens from Simon & Schuster. For more information about the Hingham Arts Alliance, including donation, social media, and contact information, you can visit their website, hinghamartsalliance.org.