DAVIS SQUARE

DAVIS SQUARE

Infomation

Davis Square is a busy neighborhood located in the town of Somerville, just minutes away from Tufts University. Restaurants and bars clustered around the square have made this nabe a favorite hangout for local students. That said, Davis Square still retains the low-key, suburban feel of outer Boston. The Davis Square T Stop provides easy access to downtown via the Red Line. Davis Square is surrounded by Hillside /Tufts, West Somerville, North Cambridge, Porter Square, Spring Hill, and Powder House.

Davis Square Data : Neighborhoods & Travel – Score out of 100

TOP ATTRIBUTES

Pet friendly 90
Public Transportation 90
Students 89
Trendy 89
Dining 86

LOWEST ATTRIBUTES

Empty nesters 54
Quiet 48
Parking 48
Seniors 46
Income 34

Davis Square, Boston Reviews

Worth the “Trek”

Before I moved here last summer, I’ll admit it – I had never set foot in Davis, or even heard of it. (Well, I was living 3,000 miles away, and had only been to Boston itself twice.) But as soon as I asked local friends where to move not just visit, Davis Square came up a lot.

During the whirlwind visit to the area to get a real feel for different neighborhoods, my first trip to Davis unfortunately fell on a Tuesday, around 2pm, in the middle of a rainstorm. Oh, and we walked up Highland to get there, unknowingly never landing on the much more populated/interesting Elm or Holland Streets. So, um, it pretty much looked like a wet, concrete intersection. Bummer.

So we figured we’d get a place in Inman instead, for something that’s still a bit off the main drag that is Harvard and Mass Ave. But we were convinced otherwise when the realtor (who kindly took us in at 7pm on a Friday evening – seriously?) started with his listing in Davis before heading to the one in Inman. Oh, yes, Friday evenings, particularly during summer, are some of the BEST in Davis. People everywhere, lights in the trees, live music. Restaurants flowing over onto the sidewalks. We saw the place and signed the lease in a matter of two hours, and have been rewarded for that spontaneous opt-in ever since.

Since I have the most excellent situation called working-at-home-on-West-Coast-hours, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to explore some of those other neighborhoods we seriously considered – South End, Inman, Central, and so on. So, with a bit more perspective, I offer a few nerdy, bulleted points on what I think Davis aces, and what it admittedly lacks compared to some other great spots.

OVERVIEW
• Quick: One of the only places I’ve encountered in Boston where you find hipsters, grandmas, professors, Tufts kids (in requisite sweatpants ensemble), working class folks, young professionals, artists, and families. A place that feels like an actual community, yet right on the red line. Excellent southern BBQ and local vegan, within a few blocks of each other.
• My very favorites: I’d probably have to start with food – Redbones (the beer is as good as the BBQ, by the way), Pulse Café, wraps at Blue Shirt Café (don’t mind the lack of atmosphere), whopping sandos + sides at Deli-icious. Dave’s Fresh Pasta. Other – Diesel Café, balanced by free Wi-Fi at an unusually friendly Starbucks. Living 380 ft from the T, and around the corner from the library. Downtown Wine and Spirits. Recognizing faces. Buffalo Exchange. The housewares selection at Goodwill. The Minuteman.
• What it lacks: Hm. 5 points of historical charm compared to, say, Harvard. I also sometimes wish I were closer than a 4ish-mile walk to Boston, but that’s mainly so I can actually have company for that walk. A great bookstore.
• Best time to go: any evening, but especially Friday or Saturday nights or when the evening weather is perfect. Go for a date, or when you want a new place for dinner or studying.
• Other neighborhoods you might like (if this is your cup of tea): JP, Allston/Brighton, Central, Inman. Somewhat South End. Union Square.

IF YOU’RE VISITING
I now realize my Overview took care of a lot of this. Some additions:
WHO you’ll find there? A lot more locals than tourists.
WHAT to do? For studying, try Diesel if you’re reading, Starbucks or Blue Shirt if you need Internet. For a date, Redbones and put your name in early. Then go to a movie at Somerville Theatre, where you can even get beer/wine and homemade ice cream. For shopping, Magpie, Artifaktori, Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill housewares.
WHEN? As I said, just about any evening it’s lively and lovely. Good option for some alternative date/study/eat/people-watching.
WHERE? It’s on the Cambridge side of the river. On the red line, two stops past Harvard – really, just a 15-minute ride from Boston. Buses come through too – the 89, 90, 94, and 96. I would also argue that it’s not a bad walk or bike ride from most places either. Just don’t park your car there unless you possess lots of quarters.
WHY? OK, I liked sticking with the questions my fifth-grade teacher told me to include in all articles, but I think I’ve already explained “Why?” enough times.
HOW? Same.

IF YOU WANT TO STAY A WHILE
If you’re still with me, and are also intrigued by the possibility of setting up shop here, a few more notes:
WHO lives there? Again, a great mix. Folks who have been there for generations, and others who are in the 20-35-year-old range (with babies or not). Really friendly people, from all I’ve seen.
WHAT does life look like? It feels like you’re in the city, yet a more low-key version. There’s a good mix of restaurants as well as small markets, a farmer’s market, lots ofCSA drop-offs, and Davis is within easy walking/driving distance of Shaw’s (closest), Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc. The Minuteman Trail runs through Davis, which is a great option for heading out on a run. We’re also 2ish miles from the Fells, for a real taste of the woods. Just over one mile to a jog around Fresh Pond. And, again, still feel close to the city with the T being right there. One of the most livable places I’ve found on either coast.
WHEN? Be sure to check listings 60-90 days in advance. Places seem to turn over most come September, but given that many non-students live here too, you can probably try to find places all other months as well. The neighbors downstairs moved in during December, for example.
WHERE? In the little bounds of Davis Square, you probably can’t go wrong with housing. The neighborhood has felt safe in all directions to me, even on an evening stroll.
WHY? I have to say, I love the squares that the Cambridge side of things offers. A real community in an urban environment.
HOW? Probably best with a realtor, as we found out. Just negotiate down the fee!
COST: Housing – Though Davis itself is more expensive than the rest of Somerville, it’s still a steal compared to many of the other great neighborhoods in the Boston area. For the cost of a one-bedroom near Harvard, we instead got a two-bedroom in a beautiful, character-filled Victorian, with a driveway parking spot, a basement (aka loads of storage), free laundry, a backyard garden/patio/grill area. And we’re one block from the T, really. Housing tends to be Victorians, by the way. Other – Parking permits are $15 for the year, and visitor parking cards (you can get 2) are $5 for the year. As someone who used to live in downtown SF, this is amazing. Obviously the T is cheap, but with the proximity of Davis to many places – urban or more rural – we rarely even have to pay for that.

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS
• Davis Square LiveJournal (I told you it feels like a community): http://community.livejournal.com/davis_square
DARBI – Your Davis Square: http://www.yourdavissquare.com/
• History: http://www.yourdavissquare.com/davis_square_history.htm?current=three&amp
• Somerville Theatre Online (as charming as it looks): http://www.somervilletheatreonline.com/somerville-theatre/
• Redbones Events: http://www.redbones.com/newsevents.html

For as long as this review is (apologies, apologies, I just get carried away when it comes to my home turf!), I hope it’s a helpful one. If you hadn’t already guessed, we happily signed another one-year lease in our Victorian attic, and don’t plan to budge any time soon.

Jeanette M.

 

It’s hard not to love Davis

Everyone who I know that lives in Davis loves it and displays a certain brand of Somerville pride, as the newest, hippest neighborhood to have emerged in recent years. It has gentrified and rent is more expensive now, but along with that has come great restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and bars.

The consignment and vintage shops are some of the finest in the city, including Buffalo Exchange, Artifaktori and a very decent-sized Goodwill. There’s also Kickass Cupcakes a little bit outside of Davis and Redbones, arguably the best BBQ in the Boston area. Oh and the coffee—you can spend hours and hundreds of dollars on strong-brewed coffee at Diesel Cafe.

It’s on the end of the Red Line, so not too far from downtown, but still a bit of a hike. The Somerville Community Bike Path also runs through Davis and brings you to the Minuteman Bikeway, which is perfect for an afternoon ride or jog.

What’s awesome

Shopping, cupcakes, art, breakfast

What’s not so awesome

Rising rent

Heather V.

 

Pleasantly Surprised by Davis Square

I’ve lived in Boston for several years and am always hearing about Davis Square, so one snowy evening I decided to join my friends for a little adventure to Red Bones Barbecue, a famous restaurant in the nabe. What can I say, I never say no to barbecue. I do have to admit, however, that I was expecting a divey little nabe and was very pleasantly surprised to find a thriving main street with tidy business fronts, busy restaurants and sidewalks packed with happy bar goers. Red Bones, was in fact, delicious and I will most definitely be returning. I was also introduced to several other restaurants that have gotten rave reviews that I will be going back to. I can’t say what it’s like to live here however if the lively bars and delicious selection of restaurants are an indication of what it’s like to live in Davis Square, then I’m sold. The nabe is also conveniently located on the red line and is super easy to get to from most anywhere in the city-a total bonus in my book!

Mallory C.

 

Love it

If I could get closer to Davis Sq, but still be in Medford, I’d do it.

Elaine A.

 

Win-Win

I interned in Somerville last Spring and it was amazing. The internship itself was as wonderful as the location. The company I interned for organizes shows in the Boston area, and my job was to promote them. We would brainstorm places to hang up posters and hand out fliers, and naturally Davis Square came to mind. Whether you want live music, sushi, Italian or something sweet, Davis square has you covered. Being the beautiful spring afternoon that it was, the square was full of people of every age range basking in the sun and taking in the city. At the time, I had never been there before, but it was easy to navigate even for a novice like me. Kick Ass Cupcakes was the first place I wandered in to ask if I could hang up a poster. The girls working were more than happy to let me do it and here is the best part: they even offered me a cupcake, their treat, my choice. I of course, couldn’t pass the offer up, especially since I had been craving one ever since seeing Kiss Ass Cupcakes on The Phantom Gourmet. After much deliberation, I settled on the caramel macchiato cupcake, which is a caramel filled chocolate cake, enough said. The rest of my day was spent wrapping posters around telephone poles while figuring out the next store I would pop in to. It was a win-win situation really, because every store I asked to hang something up at got my business, I couldn’t help myself. The smell of ice cream at J.P. Licks, the Star Wars Squid Head figurine my brother has been looking for at Comicazi, Spike’s chili cheese dog. After my whirlwind afternoon I hopped on the red line, which is conveniently located right in the square, and went on my way. Ahh Davis Sqaure, you complete me.

Paula C.

 

All Grown Up: Davis Hits Its Stride

Davis Square and I first locked eyes back in 2006 when I was a wet behind the ears freshman at Tufts- a university straddling the Medford/Somerville border about a 10 minute walk from Davis. I won’t lie, it wasn’t love at first sight, but over the years Davis has risen in esteem (both generally and in my eyes in particular) from a second tierDowntown Boston substitute to its own quirky, personality-infused nabe.
As I mentioned, Tufts University is close by, so a good number of students populate but don’t (in my opinion) overrun the area. I roamed about Davis with Tufts friends a good amount but also struck out on my own and met members of the community through local farmer’s markets, yoga classes, etc. The people here are friendly, multi-faceted and offbeat in the best possible way. There is also a range of ages represented, which helps round out the population.

The Red Line of the T is located right in the midst of the Square and multiple bus lines (to Harvard and Lechmere) are also available. Finding a parking spot takes a bit of driving bravado and luck but is always manageable. While (as always) it’s best to remain vigilant at night, I’ve walked its streets many times on my own after dark and reached my destination unscathed.

In terms of food/shopping Davis doesn’t have many megachain stores, which I really appreciate and which helps preserve its individuality. Dave’s Fresh Pasta is a must, not only for their great sandwiches but for the fresh pasta and cheeses you can cart home and make into a meal. I may have single-handedly kept Buffalo Exchange (a combination new and recycled clothing store) in the green, I swear the shop girls would smile knowingly and rub their hands together with glee when I came in the front door. Joshua Tree is my favorite place for drinks, you can meet all kinds of characters and actually carry on a conversation without screaming yourself hoarse, fancy that. The next morning, get yourself over to Ball Square Cafe to refuel with I’ve-died-and -gone-to-breakfast-heaven omelets, pancakes, and waffles. Even if there’s a line, stick it out, it goes fast and the gregarious owner encourages you to have a cup coffee while you wait. As far as prices go, I never felt as though my student budget kept me from enjoying the best Davis had to offer and its definitely cheaper than many other parts of Cambridge and Boston. The only negative I can really think of is the lack of green space, there’s a centrally located patio-type space but no real place to sprawl out with a good book.

I could go on about my favorite Davis spots (Black &Blue! J.P Licks! Those random colorful tiles in the T Station!) but I’ll restrain myself to one more word- Go- and let you discover the rest yourself.

Renee L.

 

People-watching, Food-filled Bonanza

Davis Square is the perfect location to take part in the time honored sport of people watching. It is an eclectic spot, youthful at heart, that attracts families, students from nearby Tufts University, young professionals and acoustic musicians who play in the Square’s center.

There are park benches and plenty of other outdoor seating available in this area as well. One of my favorite ways to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon is to walk down the conveniently located bike path to JP Licks for a refreshing Raspberry Lime Rickey then find a spot to plop down in to watch the diverse waves of people buzzing through. JP Licks also serves premium ice cream, shakes and sorbet smoothies in fun flavors, even a few Boston sports theme specials.

If ice cream isn’t your thing, but you’re still in the mood for something sweet, check out Kickass Cupcakes, a specialty bakery featuring creatively flavored and frosted cupcakes that are, indeed kick ass —no false advertising here! The red velvet with cream cheese frosting is one of my personal vices, but the Green Monster is also delicious with a Sam Adams flavored filling and green frosting.

For something more substantial, try Anna’s Taqueria, right across the street from the Davis Square T Station (yep, the red line will take you to the DS doorstep, which is convenient as the parking situation is typically a nightmare). Their burritos are delicious and everything is made to order including vegetarian options. All menu items feature fresh ingredients and huge portions at affordable prices. Mike’s is also a local favorite. With huge pizzas and huge beers, it’s a perfect pit stop before embarking on a wild weekend’s social endeavors. When the weather is pleasant, the big windows facing the street are opened for an open air dining experience.

Follow up your eats with a couple of drinks at one of the local bars. The Burren is right down the street and features amateur comedy nights and live music (check the entertainment schedule on their website!). This bar looks deceptively small from the street, but opens up inside to a hug back room complete with staging for performers. The bartenders are speedy and knowledgeable and will shake or stir up whichever poison you pick. Across the street is The Joshua Tree, a more laid back spot with some added ambiance. Their food tends to be hit or miss, but its a great spot for a cocktail. Be aware that the kitchen closes at 10 pm during the week and midnight on the weekends. Both attract a largely college aged/twenty-something crowd and neither admits new patrons after 1 am although closing isn’t until 2.

The Somerville Theatre is also a staple of Davis Square. It offers movie-goers an old world experience with unique decor including owl shaped lamps —definitely a departure from your local AMC. The food menu is standard, but they also sell cheap pints of beer to all of those 21+ers out there. Downstairs, below the action, the theatre is also home to a collection of eccentric, self proclaimed “bad art.” With cheaper ticket prices and all the extras, it’s definitely worth taking a gander.

There really is something for everyone in Davis Square, but I won’t threaten you with a good time, go take a look for yourself 🙂

Cheers!

Amy Soo D.

 

Davis is for lovers!

Haha rip off of a Hawthorne Heights song but its true.

Davis square is a great date location. With many great dinner options such as Orleans, Sagra, Snappy Sushi, Mike’s, Diva’s indian Bistro, Gargoyels andREDBONES! Walking around smelling that barbeque will drive any carnivore insane. Also my new Favorite restaurant Posto located on Elm street. Posto offers amazing brick oven pizza with the freshest dough I have ever tasted. WIth a great wine selection(by the glass or bottle),Knowledgable bartenders and open air seating. Posto is sure to satisfy.

DS also has great cheap eats like Anna’s taqueria, Spikes, and Boston Burger. There are many dessert options as well. Kickass Cupcakes, JP Lickes, Mr. Crepe will all satisfy your sweet tooth.

Diesel Cafe is a great place to relax and sip a hot beverage. You can be sure to find great conversation to go with your americano here. Or, if your cool with “The Man” starbucks is just a few feet away.

DS’s nightlife is pretty good for a smaller city. There is always something to do. Everything from movies, music, art galleries, Bowling(Saco family bowling), or good ol fashion sitting in the square.

Music – Johnny D’s has music 7 days a week. The Burren is a cool place to listen to some Irish tunes. Orleans is a cool place to hang out and meet sexy singles. But if its dancing you crave then hit up Joshua tree or Diva’s lounge.

Movies – Davis square also houses a classic movie theater. Home to the Independent Film Festival Boston, Live music such as U2!, and good ol fashioned blockbusters. In the basement of the Theater you will find an interesting art collection. (free with ticket purchase)

So back to my original point. Davis Square is a great place for a date.If your looking to switch things up and try new things. You can hit up 3 or 4 different spots and all in walking distance. It’s very accesible via the Davis Square stop on the Red line or the 10 or so buses that run into the Square. The price range is low to medium. Nothing here is crazy expensive. You can easily stretch out your dollars here and have a great night.

There isnt many negative’s or places to avoid. Once in a while you will see a group of young kids or an eccentric homeless person causing a stir but it doesnt seem to bother the carefree atmosphere.

I would recommend Davis to friends, family, or anyone visiting from out of town. Its a nice place to spend a fun evening with cool people.

Thanks for reading!

Anthony D.

 

In a far away land…

Once upon a time, I fell in love with Davis Square. If it was not for its far proximity from my apartment in Allston, I would probably spend most nights here. As it is though, I have to take the Red Line out of Boston to the Davis stop in order to arrive at the quaint little corner of Boston. The reason I decided to visit Davis Square for the first time was to visit the camera store, Cameras Inc.. Both the camera store and Davis Square captured my heart forever that day. My boyfriend and I visited some of the thrift stores while we waited for my film to get developed. We found that the Goodwill and the other smaller thrift stores were chock full of all kinds of gems but, after some browsing we decided to the grab some coffee and settled on the cafe, Mr. Crepe. The coffee and the crepes were both delicious and we vowed to return.
Of course, I have visited Davis Square several times since that day and discovered many more cafes and thrift stores, none of which ever disappoint. Davis Square is a nice escape from the “fast paced” life of the rest of the city. Visit on a nice summer night and you’ll find families and couple gathering around the square, eating ice cream and listening to local musicians.
Although I do not live in Davis Square I know that living in one of the many houses or apartments there is usually relatively cheap. The only downfall, of course, is the short commute into Boston but this quiet and beautiful nabe is worth it.

Molly H.

 

Great, now I have to take work off tomorrow and soak in some Davis Square

Davis Square is quality over quantity. Dwarfed by the giants of Harvard and Central, Davis is the boutique to Harvard’s outlet. Stepping off the Red Line, you are greeted by the warm old Somerville Theater, featuring $5 matinee shows and the occasional concert (which you can attend for free by signing up as a volunteer usher) by the likes of M. Ward and Fleet Foxes. Then, rather than stepping into another American Apparel or Urban Outfitters, hit up Goodwill or, for the more refined, Artifaktori or the Buffalo Exchange resale shop not two blocks away. Then, stop into Anna’s Taqueria for a super burrito and horchata — sometimes faulted for a lack of pure authenticity, but never for a lack of a cheap (as in, like, <$8), filling meal. Or dole out a couple more bucks for a gourmet panini at the Blue Shirt Cafe. All this within a quarter of a mile. Finish it off with some ice cream from J.P. Lick’s, the Boston mini-chain, then take a stroll through the path behind the T stop, with the soccer moms and Jumbos.

While you’re at it, why not just settle down? The streets branching off of Davis feature cozy, charming townhomes (Somerville being the 17th densest city in America), andTufts isn’t more than a mile away. Then check out the sometimes-free-but-always-worth-it workshops over at Sprout, a sciencey-hippy-ish salon (as in, European, not, like, that Queen Latifah movie) started by three MIT drop-outs. Get your Sunday Morning bagels at When Pigs Fly, or eat out at Johnny D’s. Spend your nights at Red Bones BBQ (or Underbones, the basement bar — get the fried pickles, seriously) or check out the latest adult contemporary lounge music at Johnny D’s. Get your gourmet groceries at the local Indian produce market, or the Wednesday farmer’s market behind Chipotle, or, if you’re real smart, over at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, one of the best restaurants Boston has to offer. Take the short stroll down Broadway to Teale Square for Guru, the best Indian food in the city. Cheap Cheap Cheap GOODGOOD GOOD.

Oh wow, now you’ve got me all gibbering about the place. Come move to Davis (or atLEAST visit). Like, now.

Jonah

 

Located off the T Red Line, Davis Square challenges the local epithet “Slummerville” with an attractive neighborhood populated by young professionals and students looking for affordable housing near Cambridge. Boston’s college town reputation extends into Summerville, and an active nightlife paired with the Summerville Community Path – an excellent stretch or “Rails-to-Trails” biking and running paths – cater to a trendy, youthful, and active community. With brick sidewalks, beautiful Seven Hills and Kenney parks, and the Sommerville Theatre, this is the local’sHarvard Square – excellent food, entertainment, and community without the density of tourists.

J Doe

 

Light and breazy shopping and dining area

It’s a good are for first dates; enough shops, enough restaurants and bars, safe and people walking around all the time.

Carolina A.

 

Minutes from the Red Line… Really

When I was first looking for an apartment in Somerville, I saw a lot of ads for places that claimed to be “minutes away from the red line.” Of course, the catch was that those “minutes” would be spent on a bus. Luckily, this doesn’t apply to Davis Square. I’ve lived here for almost a year now, and discovered that it’s one of the few places in the Boston Metro area that boasts proximity to the T, fairly easy on street parking for residents, and rent prices that aren’t absolutely astronomical. Other neighborhoods in Somerville may be cheaper, but not many can compete with Davis Square’s location and offerings.

Davis Square reminds me of the center of a small college town, with a grittier, more urban edge. Families with small children, young professionals, students (thanks to nearby Tufts), blue-collar workers, as well as some odd characters can be found out and about in this racially diverse neighborhood. The area is becoming increasingly saturated with young professionals, who have grown tired of hearing undergraduates throw up outside their windows at 4 am on a Tuesday night in other inexpensive nabes. Comparatively, Davis tends to be on the quieter side, while still feeling lively.

Though the red line provides easy access to Cambridge and downtown Boston, there are plenty of dining options close by, including a kick-ass cupcake place (appropriately named Kickass Cupcakes), a couple of coffee shops, and restaurants offering everything from Italian to Indian, and even Tibetan food. There are also several shops and bars, as well as the independently owned Somerville Theatre, which is a great place to catch a movie or live performance. Other area amenities include CVS, Boston Sports Clubs, and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

I’ve never felt particularly unsafe here, and have walked home by myself at night several times without a problem. However, Davis is still going through a bit of a gentrification process, so it’s best to exercise a little caution here. Especially at night, and especially as you get closer to Broadway and Powder House Square.

Jessica C.

 

Davis site dedicated to displaying “bad art”

“It’s the most horrible place that you could house a museum, and it’s the perfect place for this museum,” said Jeff Boedeker, a 25-year-old film student at Boston University.

This is the Museum of Bad Art. Housed in the basement of the Somerville Theatre, MOBA’s claim to fame is that it’s the world’s only museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and celebrating bad art. This one-room museum is not cosmetically pleasing. The floor is covered by carpet that looks like it came out of a frat house, fluorescent lights line the ceilings, and an occasional toilet flush can be heard from the men’s and women’s bathrooms that are conveniently located right outside the museum. But the dark, gaudy picture frames that line the walls contain paintings that have been turned from trash to treasure.

The museum, which charges no admission fee, has operated out of the basement of the Dedham Massachusetts Community Theatre since 1994, but MOBA’s grand opening at the Somerville Theatre happened in 2008. The museum has over 400 pieces of “bad” art in its collection. At any given time, it displays 20 or 30 paintings. “My favorite piece is called, ‘Sunday on the Pot with George,’ said Executive Director of the MOBA, Louise Sacco. “ It’s a masterpiece of pointillism. Why would someone with skill like that paint a picture of a guy in his tighty whites, on a toilet?” Other paintings feature aliens dancing around with apples, people with disproportionate body features and paintings of blue people.

But what makes something “bad” enough to make it into the collection? Well, that job is left up to, MOBA Curator Mike Frank. “Poor technique alone doesn’t make something worthy of the collection, unless the poor technique results in an image that’s interesting enough to keep looking at it,” said Frank. Boston University’s Professor of American Art Patricia Hills seem to agree with Frank’s interpretation of bad art. “Bad art would be something totally boring, with no ideas,” she said. “I think if this is a museum of bad art, the bad art is probably the stuff they rejected not the stuff they decided to put into their museum.”

Each month, MOBA receives about 15 or 20 paintings from all over the world but Frank usually accepts only one or two of those for the collection. Some people donate there own work, other people just want to give the paintings away and some pieces are actually found in the trash. Occasionally, Frank, who can never pass a yard sale or a flea market without checking it out, will purchase a painting he deems worthy of the collection.

But just because a painting is deemed worthy by Frank doesn’t mean that the artist wants it gracing MOBA’s walls. One woman was horrified after discovering, through her ex-boyfriend, that her work was being displayed at the museum. She told Sacco to remove the piece immediately. The painting was never seen again.

The museum never pays more than $8 for a piece. The paintings that get rejected are put into a rejection collection. Every year, the MOBA has a fund-raising auction to sell the rejected paintings. They have received up to $80 for some of the auctioned paintings. A large portion of the proceeds from the auction go to organizations such as the Salvation Army. Many times the proceeds go to the retired sanitation workers in Cambridge. The MOBA feels donating to the sanitation workers is fitting because they receive a lot of their best paintings from them. Boedeker said, “If a garbage collector can be a curator, I think that’s a beautiful thing.” Whether serious or silly, the MOBA is proving that one person’s trash can really be another’s treasure.

Katie F.

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