Supporting Artists in Hard Times

The first in a series entitled, INTERNal Reflections – about the work and impact of MATV/UMA’s interns.

Malden resident Amanda Hurley wants to celebrate the local artists on a twitter account she put up called What’s Good in the Neighborhood. Hurley, a grad of New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, initially started posting her own art to promote and advocate for the projects of her friends; she eventually started to share the arts activities around the Malden area.

I would like to facilitate a space and be a megaphone for other people who are looking to get some signal boost for their art and stuff. [They] are excited when you promote their work and shows!

Amanda Hurley

Amanda came on board as an intern for Urban Media Arts who liked her idea so much, they believed it would make a great marketing strategy for their organization. The idea of promoting community based projects from a wide variety of people was what UMA is all about! In turn, MATV/UMA gave her more awareness and more access to events happening within the Malden community.

As part of UMA’s Culture Matters podcast, Amanda Hurley covered Episode 6, Dance Like Breathing, hosted by Jean Appolon. He discussed his Haitian background and using dance as a means to cope with trauma after the murder of his father by the same government that he worked for after twenty years. He discussed how integral dancing is to the folklore of Haitian culture. For Jean, dancing is “just being human.” For Hurley, this was the most interesting to write about and it proved to be an engaging post; it received the most hits on Twitter than any of her other posts.

Since the pandemic it has been difficult for Amanda to go anywhere and find people who are making art, or hosting public events that need promotion. She worried whether she would be able to physically visit some spaces or just resort to reading about what was happening around Malden.

In her research, Amanda read about Kowloon, a Chinese restaurant in Saugus, which is doing well in a time when the food industry is being slowly eliminated with the need for social distancing. The reason Kowloon has managed to stay afloat is because they converted their large parking lot into a car hop and drive-in movie theater. With patrons already in their vehicles, Kowloon employees can deliver right were people are enjoying the film. This has since become a hot spot for a community in need of a distraction from stress. Amanda initially had trouble attending for tickets sell out so quickly as the summer season comes to a close.

The restaurant won “Best of Boston” 2020 in a Boston magazine, under the caption, “…the place to be in this extraordinary summer.”

Amanda also commented on the diverse and liberal nature of Malden and Massachusetts in general.

“There’s a lot of great schools, growing up here, you have great art schools, and the famous Harvard University. I feel like people don’t talk about it, and you don’t realize it until you step out of the state… We’ve got it all! It makes you want to do great things with your life! …It’s important to “pull each other up during these times, and keep creating art, promoting it and putting it out into the world. Rather than worrying about you’re going to do, you can be part of a community to lift up each other!”

Amanda Hurley

If you have a project you’re proud of and want to be featured in “What’s Good in the Neighborhood?”, direct message Amanda Hurley or email her!

This post is the first of a series about MATV/UMA’s interns, INTERNal Reflections and the impact the role they play in developing the emerging UMA identity and offerings.