Public Art in Arlington MA

The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and the Arlington Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion invited artists Sonya Quinlan Khan, Molly Scannell, and TJ Reynolds to explore some of Arlington’s diverse stories. Each artist created 3 portraits responding to the theme of “Friends & Neighbors” for display on lightpole banners in Arlington Center, choosing their own subjects.

The result – Friends & Neighbors: Arlington Stories – showcases people who are significant in the artists’ lives in Arlington; teachers, small business owners, musicians, community leaders, relatives, all essential to the fabric of our community. Molly, TJ and Sonya’s representations of their neighbors, each done in a style entirely their own, come together to remind us that though we look through different eyes, we are all intimately connected and each of us brings something worthy to our collective endeavor of building community.

In an age of polarization and isolation, now is the time to listen and hold each others’ stories. Art reminds us that this capacity is within us, if we can only slow down long enough to pay attention, and suspend our judgment to see with clear eyes. Let these banners brightly displayed on our flagpoles awaken you to the complex web of stories we all carry. Allow yourself to wonder about your neighbor, to appreciate who they are and all they have done, extend that same curiosity and gratitude to yourself, and Arlington will truly be a place of friends and neighbors.

The banners will be on view from mid-April through May 30, 2024. Many thanks to Nilou Moochhala, who designed our title banners and managed the printing process, and Town of Arlington’s Department of Public Works for installing them. Thanks as well to Mind’s Eye Yarn, 449 Mass Ave, for generously hosting our window display of art and stories to accompany the banners.

You can see all of the banner images with explanations, and info on the artists here.

Special thanks to the Arlington Cultural District, the Mass Cultural Council, and the Town of Arlington

Kelly Lynema, Department of Planning and Community Development, Town of Arlington |

Elizabeth Locke, Executive Director, Arlington Chamber of Commerce |

Arlington’s got plenty to keep you busy this holiday season! Here’s a list of some fun events and activities. Check back, we’ll be updating this regularly. Special note: Free parking in Arlington Center’s two municipal lots on weekends through December.

December 1st-31st

Shows at the Regent Theatre

Check out the holiday schedule at the Regent Theatre! There are shows every week which will fill you with holiday cheer. Whether you’re a fan of heartwarming classics, dazzling musicals, or laugh-out-loud comedies, the Regent has a spectacular lineup of shows that cater to everyone’s taste.

November 25th- December 24th

Holiday Hurrah – Shop Local Promotion in East Arlington

Pick up your passport at any participating business. Make purchases at 6 or more participating businesses. Get your passport stamped with each purchase. Turn your passport in at the Capitol Theatre and receive a pair of free movie tickets!

November 30th- December 30th

Pop-Up Holiday Taproom at The Roasted Granola

Bring a friend, grab a beer, buy a present or two, and relax in Arlington Heights’ friendliest spot! We’ll be pouring a selection of fan favorites including Spy-P-A, Jedermann, and Zwolf, as well as introducing new brews to the lineup such as Marley’s Ghost Christmas Ale! On Saturdays, you get the added benefit of Roasted Granola’s Holiday Market where local artists come and sell their crafts. These are family-friendly events. Bring everyone!

December 22nd

Fridays at The Roasted Granola

Join us for a night of music with Gary Goldsmith, a beloved singer, songwriter and guitarist. Drinks and snacks with be available at the Roasted Granola Cafe.

December 23rd

Winter Artisan Market

Head on down to the Winter Artisan markets at The Roasted Granola! Each week, local artisans will be showcasing and selling their work. It is the perfect opportunity to do some local holiday shopping while sipping a delicious coffee.

January 1st

New Year’s Celebration with Ready, Set, Kids

Celebrate the New Year with us at Ready Set Kids. Come with your family and friends to participate in child-centered New Year activities Ages. For ages 0-5 | $10 registration per child

The Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA) is a cornerstone for the creative community in Arlington and beyond. Established in 1988, ACA is dedicated to fostering the arts in the local community by providing opportunities for artists, performers, and students to learn, create, and share their work with others.

Recently the ACA hosted a new event: Spotlight ACA! This fundraising event was designed to give their guests and community members an interactive experience and a little taste of all their signature programs, with live music, hands-on activities, delicious food and drinks, and irresistible items to take home.

Every fall, ACA also presents Arlington Open Studios, which is an event showcasing over 60 local artists displaying and selling their work. This signature Arlington event celebrates artists of all media and invites the public to engage with and support this community of talented individuals. This year’s event will be in-person with a range of virtual resources available to visitors. All application info and links will be available on June 1, 2023.

ACA also presents an ongoing schedule of compelling community exhibits and high-quality, curated shows that draw on a wide community of artists from Arlington and beyond. The Shaira Ali Gallery also serves as a rental space for performances, meetings, and parties for members of the Arlington community. They regularly present several opportunities for off-site exhibitions in the community including at WorkBar and Arlington Friends of the Drama.

Coming to a porch near you in June: Arlington’s free, festive, one-day-only music extravaganza is back…and bigger & better than ever!! Porchfest is a grassroots music festival where bands play on front porches across town and people walk, bike or drive around to enjoy tons of free outdoor music, performances, and visual arts exhibits. Visit the Arlington Porchfest website for more information.

Along with their community events like the Spring Gala, Arlington Porchfest, and  Arlington Open Studios, the ACA provides year-round education programs for children, teens, and adults in a variety of media, such as painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and fiber arts, among others. These classes are taught by experienced artists and educators who provide personalized instruction to students of all ages and skill levels.

Their creative opportunities for beginners and professionals alike help students develop skills, discover passions, and build community through the arts. During February, April and Summer vacation, the ACA offers full day camps for kindergarteners through teens. Vacation Arts Programs are fun, dynamic mixes of art, music, and drama and offer CIT and Counselor programs. The ACA also provides private studios and co-working spaces for artists to create and engage with a community of vibrant and diverse makers.

Arlington Center for the Arts is a vibrant hub of artistic activity in the greater Boston area, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for artists and art enthusiasts alike.To learn more about ACA, you can visit their website at You can also become a member, or make a contribution to support their ongoing work.

When people visit the Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington, MA for the first time, they are often amazed when they step inside- it’s indeed a workplace from another century. The smell of decades of birch, bass wood, and black walnut, the sight of period tools resting on a polished workbench, and the gentle sound of belt-driven lathes immediately transport young and old to America’s industrial age.

Forty-five minute tours of the main building’s first and second floor are available by a museum staff member on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Some highlights: In the original office, you can view an 1898 roll top desk, a “hidden” closet door and a substantial 1905 safe. Visitors can also encounter a rare and remarkable sight: a very intact Civil War-era shop floor that contains multiple generations of tools and machines. Upstairs, you’ll see the glue room, admire examples of finished frames in the frame showroom, and enjoy a temporary art show or historical exhibit in our galleries.

Old Schwamb Mill has a unique history. Charles Schwamb emigrated from Germany in the 1840s, one of six Schwamb brothers who came to America between 1837 and 1857. The brothers brought wood working skills and the ability to adapt and thrive in towns dominated by the descendants of English settlers. After working for years with his brothers, Charles and his brother Frederick bought the mill in 1864 and commenced the manufacture of oval picture frames. The Charles Schwamb business sold picture frames and linear moulding to frame shops and galleries throughout the northeast, including in the cities of Boston and New York. For the next century this Mill, along with two other Schwamb manufacturing concerns, were major sites of commerce and employment in Arlington.

When fourth-generation owner Elmer Schwamb retired in 1969, Patricia Cunningham Fitzmaurice, a visionary local community activist/preservationist, saved the Mill from almost certain destruction. She raised both awareness of its historical value and the funds needed to secure the property. She brought together a group of remarkable, civic-minded citizens to form the Schwamb Mill Preservation Trust. Within six months, she and the Trust had founded the Old Schwamb Mill as an  industrial museum a decade before the Lowell National Historical Park, allowing generations of visitors to experience the small family-run factories that once covered nineteenth and twentieth-century New England.

Today, the Mill’s customers include museums, frame shops, and architectural and interior design firms as well as individuals looking for fine-crafted frames that will display family portraits, photos, artwork, or mirrors. The hand-turned frames are constructed from solid hardwoods such as black walnut, maple, cherry, mahogany and zebrawood.

The Old Schwamb Mill maintains a schedule of events that make visiting the Mill a regular occurrence for its many friends. In its second-floor gallery, the Mill offers various shows throughout the year by local painters, photographers, collagists, and sculptors, plus one show with a focus on the Mill’s own history. Frequent lectures, including an annual Frame Lecture, give visitors another chance to experience the Mill’s beautiful interior.

There is also a summer music series, as well as children’s programs including storytelling, crafts, music and a puppet show. Two signature events include the Mill’s annual outdoor Oktoberfest on the first Saturday in October, as well as a holiday craft fair in November.

The Old Schwamb Mill is located at 17 Mill Lane in Arlington, just off the bike path. Those who are interested can donate, and receive updates to find out about the latest happenings.

If you’re hungry, be sure to head over to The Roasted Granola for a cup of coffee and a treat. Or you can grab a slice of pizza at Andrina’s. You could also stop by for a drink or dinner at The Heights Pub or Jimmy’s Steer House.


It’s a new year, and even though the days are gradually getting longer, gearing up to head outside doesn’t always seem like the most exciting idea. Especially when there’s a cold drizzly mist and there’s no epic snowstorm in the forecast. A new study from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki claims that “physical activity is thought to be the key mediating factor in the health benefits of green spaces when availability or active use of green space are considered.”  Luckily Arlington has much to offer when it comes to walking and hiking, and exploring!

The Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Minuteman Bikeway travels from one end of Arlington to the other, and connects the nearby towns of Bedford, Lexington, and Cambridge. All 3 business districts can be visited from the bikeway, whether you’re walking or biking, it’s a great way to explore the town, at any time of year. The Alewife Brook Greenway is another biking and walking path that ties into the Minuteman Bikeway. The Greenway connects with routes to Davis Square in Somerville, Harvard Square and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, and Belmont. Go for a run, a walk, ride your own bike or rent one from one of the six Bluebike stations located in Arlington.

Arlington is also home to a number of beautiful parks and green spaces. The view of the Boston skyline from Robbins Farm Park is spectacular. On a clear morning, you can head up to the top of the hill to watch the sun come up over Boston. It’s stunningly beautiful, and you’ll always have company; it’s a popular spot for photographers and early morning walkers and runners. When it snows, there are a couple great hills for sledding at that park. 

Magnolia Park is home to some of Arlington’s sports fields, as well as a basketball court and a dog park. You can also head over to Spy Pond, which has a new playground, as well as scenic paths along the water. Spy Pond is a coveted spot for watching the sunset. Menotomy Rocks Park is a 35 acre hilly woodland park that’s perfect for a walk or family hike, any time of the year. It’s a great place for dogs as well. In the winter it can be a popular spot for sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. But be careful!

Also, located in Arlington Heights, the Arlington Reservoir has long been a destination for local residents and visitors. It’s a popular swimming hole in the summer, but during the rest of the year, people can enjoy the beach with dogs, and hike on the 1.2 mile loop around the water, which connects to the Great Meadow Trail, well-known for walking and hiking, cross country skiing and wildlife observation during any season.

There is no shortage of trails in the surrounding Arlington area. You can also check out Whipple Hill, Turkey Hill, Arlington’s Great Meadows, McLennan Park, and the Middlesex Fells. Spending time outdoors is essential for health and well-being. It can be difficult to establish new patterns, but you can start small. Even 15 minutes outdoors can boost your mood and energy. Read more tips on safety and motivation. Be safe and have fun!

Just over the border from Cambridge, East Arlington/Capitol Square is a lively, bustling neighborhood and home to the historic Capitol Theater, independently owned retailers, and excellent eateries.

The Minuteman Bikeway is just 1/4 mile away making East Arlington the perfect refueling stop for cyclists before heading to Harvard Square or Lexington/Concord.

Here are just a few of East Arlington’s highlights.

The shops of the Capitol Square block offer books, gifts, floral, home decor, baked goods, and more! This block is anchored by the Capitol Theatre. Since 1925, this movie palace has delighted visitors with old-world charm and the most up-to-date movies.

Before seeing a movie at the Capitol, grab a drink or a bite to eat from the scratch kitchen at Town Tavern, directly across the street from the theatre. The Tavern also offers live music so check their schedule.

Looking for some exercise? Pick up a Bluebike at either Linkwood St. or Grafton St. and ride to Arlington Center, Arlington Heights, Lexington, and beyond!




GO OUT DOORS – ARLINGTON  2021, on view for Fall 2021, continues to grow last year’s “Go Out Doors-Neighbors” collaborative public art campaign featuring upcycled, artist-decorated doors installed on bike and nature trails. The goal of the project was to “celebrate reconnection with nature, our senses, and healthful outdoor activity” to the succor of our neighboring communities emerging from COVID-19 isolation.

Featured artists and locations include: Janice Hayes-Cha on the Mystic River Parkway, Jacky Pullman at Robbins LibraryJill Strait at Broadway Plaza, Laurie Bogdan at Uncle Sam Visitor Center, Adria Arch at Old Schwamb Milland Jason Rudokas and Laurie Bogdan, representing ArtLinks Arlington on the.

Inspired by the En Plein Air exhibition on NYC’s High Line, The Umbrella Arts Center’s original “Go Out Doors” installation was displayed on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in West Concord in summer of 2020. By fall, additional commissions cropped up as surprising waypoints of delight on paths across neighboring Concord Center, Arlington and Lexington — symbolically connecting three towns, three bikeways, three cultural districts, and three visitor centers.
In 2021, Go Out Doors – Neighbors projects have continued to spread, with new art doors installed or planned in Carlisle, Westford, Concord, Arlington, Lexington, Medford, Groton, Minute Man National Historical Park, and eight villages in Newton including Auburndale; Newton Centre; Newton Highlands, Newton Upper Falls, Newtonville, Nonantum, Waban and West Newton.
Go Out Doors asks: “How can we, as artists, draw more people outside to explore nature? What might we discover if, on foot or wheel, we find ourselves on a path through the woods – hidden from the roads we travel daily? What happens if we leave our electronics behind and find that steps from the front door a sensory world awaits?  What happens if we walk and bike daily to and from school and work? Or just for fun? What might we feel? What might change?”
Designs have emphasized local wildlife and environmental stewardship themes, or forms of healthful outdoor activity and companionship. Doors evoke inspiration, whimsy, irony, reflection, connection, curiosity, spirituality, local culture and history, and/or joy.

The Arlington portion of this project is supported by Arlington Tourism and Economic Development, the Arlington Cultural District, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Mass Cultural Council, and the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture.

Find more information about this year’s new Arlington artdoors, artist information, photos, and an interactive map of the doors around town at !

Please join the Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture for poetry, music and conversation in an inspiring setting: an evocative art installation — woven into a beautiful pine forest — that invites you to reflect on Arlington’s experiences of the pandemic.

Experience the installation before it closes in mid-November and meet the artist Nilou Moochhala. Enjoy poetry by Francesco Fiondella from his collection of pandemic writing “#SpontaneousCoronaverse”. Delight to short performances by clarinetist Todd Brunel and french hornists Hazel Dean Davis and Nick Auer. Hear reflections by Dr. Robin Schoenthaler, Arlington’s “COVID Dr.,” and Kickstand Cafe co-owner Emily Shea on sharing their stories through Moochhala’s project.

Reflecting on our Pandemic Experience was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and contributions from the Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park and generous individual supporters.







ART & MUSIC at Mill Pond Park

October 23, 1 – 4 PM

Mill Pond Park at Old Schwamb Mill | 17 Mill Lane | Arlington MA

New England Sculptors Association (NESA) has partnered with the Old Schwamb Mill and the Town of Arlington to present  an outdoor sculpture exhibition at Mill Pond Park.

The Mill will host a reception from 1:00 – 2:30 PM. Come meet the artists and enjoy a concert that will follow from 2:30 – 4:00 PM by FOGGY MOUNTAIN CONSORT, a Renaissance/Blue Grass Band.

The installation of six juried pieces that are available for purchase can be enjoyed through the middle of November. The participating artists’ sculptures on view are:

Mid-Century Modern Heart by Cassie Doyon

Weedy Sea Dragon by Cassie Doyon

My Love by Memy Ish Shalom

Cat by Marin Murakoski

Colliding Worlds by R. Douglass Rice

Dragoon by Dan Rocha


New England Sculptors Association (NESA), est. 1948, supports established and emerging sculptors in achieving their highest potential and in connecting with fellow artists, curators, and collectors. Together with our partners, we promote excellence in sculptural art and seek to inform, educate, and inspire the public throughout New England and beyond.


The Old Schwamb Mill is the oldest continuously operating mill site in the U.S where guided tours are available as well as demonstrations of frame-turning on original 19th-century lathes, still used today to create handmade oval and circular frames. The Mill presents a calendar of events held throughout the year, including gallery and park exhibits, musical performances, lectures and special events.

Also at the Mill…

‘3 Views of a Secret’

Three Views of a Secret

“Three Views of a Secret” is currently on display in the mill’s gallery. It features nature-inspired paintings and sculptures from Arlington artists Gwen Chasan and Dan Cianfarini and Lexington-based Bill Cohn.

The collection showcases Gwen’s tantalizing watercolor and acrylic paintings of birds’ nests, landscapes and botanicals, Dan’s haunting watercolors of New England and international landscapes and structures, and Bill’s other-worldly “industrial-organic” ceramic sculptures. Each artist’s interpretation of the visible world is an affirmation of life, a welcome therapy as we emerge from the global pandemic.

Cianfarini, is an artist who paints exclusively in watercolors, focusing on representational landscapes that often include architectural or other man-made elements to suggest human presence or the passage of time. He is also drawn to certain aspects of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, specifically its search for beauty in the natural cycle of growth and decay.

Since beginning to paint about 20 years ago, he has studied painting and drawing with instructors in the greater Boston area, Maine, and Italy and has participated in several solo exhibitions as well as numerous group exhibitions. His most recent work can be seen at

Cohn is a Lexington-based ceramic artist and sculptor. Working in clay, rock, and wood, his unique “Industrial/Organic” themed sculptures have been described as evoking feelings of “being in the New England woods or on a foreign planet all at the same time.” Bill’s work enriches landscapes, gardens, atria and homes. His pieces have been featured in solo, two-person, and juried group shows. Bill has been a studio owner at Artspace in Maynard MA since 2000, and his work can be seen at and on Instagram@cohnbill18.

Chasan is an Arlington artist who creates watercolor and acrylic paintings inspired by the beauty and mystery of the natural world. Her work bridges realism and expressionism as she is drawn to expressing the inner world and emotions evoked by what we see around us. Gwen loves to experiment with new materials and approaches to making marks and images. She has studied drawing and painting with artists in the Boston area, Italy and Greece. Her work has been included in solo and juried exhibitions locally and regionally. She paints in her Arlington studio and teaches workshops in Massachusetts. Her work can be seen at, and on Instagram @gwen_chasan_art.

These works will be for sale after the show which ends on November 6.



Poems are popping up all over Arlington Heights! This summer, 50 original haiku poems fill storefront windows all along Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Heights; Arlington MA Neighborhood Haiku. The poems are being painted by 18 volunteer artists working with coaching from legendary sign painter Kenji Nakayama.  A jury selected poems from almost 200 entered; the poets — ranging in age from 7 to 92 — drew inspiration from the streets and shops, green spaces and local history, people and community spirit of the Heights. Local poet and teacher Jessie Brown led 4 well-attended haiku workshops. Arlington’s poet laureate, Steven Ratiner, worked with his Beehive Poets group to put together a special collection of haiku.

On Wednesday, July 14, 2021 6:30 – 8:00 pm, a community celebration will take place.  Featuring an open mic, live music, and a storefront stroll with some special opportunities to shop local.  Plan to stay for dinner or get a takeout picnic at one of the great eateries of this distinctive neighborhood.

Arlington MA Neighborhood Haiku

Organized by Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture’s Public Art Curator Cecily Miller with Janet O’Riordan, Jessie Brown, Rob Davison, Julie Horvath, Emily Patel and Sarah Short. Thanks to the Grants Committee of Arlington Commission for Arts & Culture and the Mass Cultural Council for funding, event sponsors Century 21 Realty and Roasted Granola, and the many local businesses who made contributions and are generously hosting poems in their windows.

Visit Town of Arlington MA