Election Express: What else is going on in Boston?

Arts come alive during convention

By Cathy Poley

Originally appeared on CNN.com as part of Election 2004 coverage

CHARLESTOWN, Massachusetts (CNN) — Pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, listen to the radio and all you will hear about in the metropolitan Boston area is the Democratic National Convention.

It’s easy to come to the conclusion the rest of the city will be shutting down next week, but Boston’s cultural world is still alive and thriving, and there will be many events for those not convention bound.

The city’s theatrical side boasts everything from Broadway shows such as “The Lion King” and “Mama Mia” to Shakespeare on the Common and a stage adaptation of “Clockwork Orange.”

At the local museums, you can see an in-depth exhibit on the science of the human body or view 18th century Chinese robes. There is even a French film festival.

According to the Boston Foundation, Boston has 640 arts organizations, more per capita than any other U.S. metropolitan area.

Celeste Wilson, executive director of the Arts and Business council of Greater Boston, said she believes that the artistic side of Boston will not be overlooked during the Democratic Convention.

“We believe the convention will serve as a wonderful showcase for arts in Boston,” Wilson said.

In fact, some groups will be giving performances in conjunction with the convention.

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra will be giving a free concert at City Hall Plaza on the eve of the convention as part of Celebrate Boston 2004, a monthlong celebration of community and cultural activities leading up to the convention.

Wilson also sees the convention as an opportunity to showcase the cultural aspects of the city and for smaller arts organizations to be featured.

“Throughout the city, events are being planned from parties to award ceremonies,” Wilson said. “We hope that event planners will utilize smaller organizations as entertainment.”

“We view this as a nice opportunity for the world to know what Boston has to offer.”